State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I has claimed it is not responsible for a flight-route permit issuance that has become a topic of debate following the crash last Sunday of AirAsia flight QZ8501 in the Karimata Strait, which is believed to have killed 162 passengers and crew members on board.
AP I corporate secretary Farid Indra Nugraha said during a press conference in Jakarta on Monday that the company as an airport operator would only dispatch passengers after it received information from the state-owned Indonesian Flight Navigation Service, also known as AirNav Indonesia.
"Airports do not carry out navigation duties. Flight permits are not in the hands of 'airports'. They are not related at all to the [flight] permit issuance process," he said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Farid further explained the procedure to request flight route and slot approval.
He said the procedure started with an airline company, which had to submit a request letter together with a number of documents, comprising the airline's business permit, flight operation plans, flight routes, flight frequencies, flight schedules that had obtained slot and slot coordinator recommendations, the type of aircraft, rotation diagrams of the aircraft being operated and approval evidence from the civil airport authority in the destination country.
Farid said request letters were later handed over to the Transportation Ministry's air transportation directorate for an administrative evaluation and route approval.
After a route request is approved, the directorate sends the permit letter to the airline company, with copies sent to the Indonesian Slot Coordinator (IDSC) and the airport authority.
Farid said based on Law No. 1/2009 on flight services, AP I was only responsible for airport-infrastructure related matters as it had no longer had control as an airport authority.
Farid admitted that the actual route permit for AirAsia flight QZ8501 serving Surabaya-Singapore was for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the code name 1246. In fact, the budget airline operated Surabaya-Singapore route services on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, code-named 1357.
"On the matter, please check the flight's route-permit letter issued on Oct. 24, 2014, which took effect from Oct. 26, 2014, to March 28, 2015, while in fact, the route-permit request letter was submitted only on Oct. 1, 2014. We suspect that the permit was not for the 'winter' route but for the 'summer' route," he said.