Indonesia's domestic airlines struggling to meet safety standards

Indonesia's domestic airlines struggling to meet safety standards

The country's airline industry may have grown fast over the past 15 years, but it has scored significantly lower on the effectiveness of its safety oversight system than the global average.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations agency whose standards and recommended practices (SARPs) guide its 191 member states in developing their national civil aviation regulations, has found that Indonesia scored below the global average in all eight areas it assessed during its national audit in May last year.

Among the eight areas, Indonesia scored lowest on organisation, with a score of only 17.6 per cent for "effective implementation", far lower than the global average of 64.8 per cent.

While the country scored 61 per cent in airworthiness, this is still lower than the worldwide average of 73.9 per cent.

Although ICAO has no law enforcement authority, its audits have been widely referred to by developed countries to impose a ban on airlines from countries with poor air safety oversight.

The ICAO audit in 2007, which spotted 121 loopholes in the Indonesian air safety oversight system, for instance, partly led to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Commission (EC) quickly imposing a flight ban on all Indonesian airlines, including flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, which had been struggling to rebuild its brand image after years of financial losses.

"Prior to the EC ban, there was no information forwarded to us airline operators by the Transportation Ministry, although we actually had a chance to deliver our 'defence argument'," Garuda operational director Capt.

Novianto Herupratomo said, shifting the blame to the ministry for its poor coordination with airlines.

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