EU lifts Indonesian flight ban, media and public wonder about the reality.
As reported widely in the media, the European Union has decided to reverse its ban on four Indonesian airlines, permitting Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Air, Airfast Indonesia and PremiAir to fly within EU airspace. Later in the week, it was reported that the EU might also un-ban Lion Air and the Indonesian subsidiary of Air Asia in the future.
|The approved ones|
|Maybe the next ones.|
However, as Mandala Air/Lion Air/Air Asia Indonesia don't fly beyond Asia and Airfast/PremiAir are charter airlines, this decision - while improving public perception -only practically affects the sole long-haul airline: Garuda. It has already announced plans to resume flights to Amsterdam, initially via Dubai with Airbus A330-300, then later a direct flight with a Boeing 777ER.
Ironically, the same day that the European Union agreed to reverse its ban on certain Indonesian airlines, the story of a past Indonesian air tragedy was broadcast on international TV.
National Geographic's TV channel (not the magazine) broadcast its regular Tuesday night schedule, which currently includes a show which explores past plane crashes and their causes: "Air Crash Investigation". As luck would have it, last Tuesday's episode was about the worst air disaster in more recent times: Adam Air Flight #KI-574, which crashed into the sea off the coast of West Sulawesi, killing all 102 passengers and crew.
If you missed it, you can watch it on YouTube. Here is Part 1:
Generally speaking, like other episodes it was well done with numerous interviews and fairly accurate dramatisations. While it wasn't fun to watch, some of the nice touches I enjoyed (sort of) seeing included:
The top right flag: Makassar, Adam Air Flight 782's intended destination.
The bottom right flag: Tambolaka, where the flight landed after radar failure, over 500km to the south
I only noticed a couple of discrepancies with earlier newspaper and magazine reports of the crash and the cause.
In the past, eight pilots used to enter a simulator all together for one night. "Two would be training, but it's unclear what the others were doing," said Director-General of Air Transportation, Budhi Mualiawan Suyitno.
So, while some Indonesian airlines now have the ability to fly to Europe, international perception of its safety record remains tarnished. Having said that, I flew Adam Air several times without incident on domestic flights.
What do you think? Has the EU partially lifting its ban changed your opinion of Indonesian airlines, and make you more likely to consider flying Garuda internationally? Or do you still have concerns about Indonesian airlines and airports, and if so what in particular?