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Only two pilots in simulator, training a success LIPPO CIKARANG - The first reaction from Indonesia on the ban to fly to countries of the European Union for all Indonesian airliners was as clear as it could be. Furious they were, because there were no structural problems at all in the airline industry in the country. President Yudhoyono even canceled a visit to the Netherlands because of the ban. And all this even when there was not a single Indonesian airliner flying to Europe, since Garuda Indonesia had stopped flying to Amsterdam late 2004 already.

But things were wrong after all; planes dropped from the sky in groups in the year prior to the decision of the European Union and after a plane belonging to the now bankrupt Adam Air went missing and a plane crash at the airport of Yogyakarta involving a Garuda Indonesia plane, it was enough.

The cause of all this lies in the late nineties. Back then the airline industry was liberalized and every person with a bag of money was able to stat his own airliner. That is exactly what happened. Indonesians were not familiar yet with 'commercial airliners' and assumed that everything was okay. Unfortunately this was not the case. Very stiff competition caused airliners to trim costs of virtually everything that was meant to improve safety.

The most worrisome example of those cost-saving measures is the practice in the flight simulator, training which is essential for pilots. For Indonesian airliners however, 4,000 dollars per hour of training was too much. A solution was found to allow pilots to watch over the shoulders of the few that actually received their training in a flight simulator, told Dudi Sudibyo, former director of the magazine Angkasa.

Sudibyo told that when the only two persons allowed to do checkups on jumbojets retired, the country didn't have a single person left. There was no shortage of airliners, but execution of safety checks ground to a halt. Corruption has also had it's share in the fact that all airliners from Indonesia ended up on the blacklist. Paperwork was signed of quite easily. "When inspectors received a nice sum of money, the papers were signed directly," he said.

Improvements however are clearly visible after the government stepped in. There are only 18 airliners left and Indonesians have become more aware of which airliner to choose. This progress however did not lead to an end to deadly airline accidents, risks however are substantially lower than a few years ago.

The Dutch daily NRC published an article about airline safety in Indonesia on August 26, 2009. Login required.


Tags: safety, airline, pilot, training, simulator


Posted in General @ 04 September 2009 06:47 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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