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Indonesian airlines must grow fleet or shut down

15 Apr 2009

The Indonesian government has ordered the nation’s airlines to fly at least 10 planes by 2012 or be shut down as part of the country’s renewed efforts to improve its air safety record.

Five of the 10 planes must be wholly owned and the rest can be leased according to the new rule, which was signed into law early this year.

 “We want airlines to be financially sound and committed to giving the best in terms of service and safety,” said Bambang Ervan, transportation ministry spokesman.

The airlines are required to comply with this new rule within three years. Failure to do so would force them to either close down, merge with other airlines to make up the quota or move to provide only charter services.

Currently, more than half of Indonesia’s 50 commercial and charter airlines own less than five planes.

The Indonesian archipelago relies heavily on air links, but local carriers have been hampered with one of Asia’s worst air safety records. In recent years, more than 120 people have died in fatal accidents, prompting the European Union (EU) to ban all Indonesian carriers from flying into its air space in 2007.

Meanwhile, the EU has recently expanded its blacklist of unsafe carriers to include all Benin-based airlines as the western African country drew “negative results” after an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization. 

Other carriers who have been included in the new blacklist and are banned from flying in the EU bloc are Kazakhstan’s Air Company Kokshetau, ATMA  Airlines, Berkut Air, East Wing, Sayat Air and Starline KZ; Thailand’s One-Two-Go Airlines, and Ukraine’s Motor Sich Airlines.

This is the tenth update of the EU blacklist since its establishment in March 2006. The EU ban is based on deficiencies found during checks at European airports, the airlines’ use of antiquated aircraft and shortcomings by non-EU airline regulators.

Joshua Tan

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