Indonesia's budget carrier Adam Air is receiving some unwanted scrutiny from law enforcement agencies and Indonesian Air Transportation officials following a series of technical and safety incidents that have received front-page publicity across the nation.
The Airline – which positions itself as uncompromising on issues of flight safety – saw an entire airplane with 145 passenger and crew go missing for nearly four hours on Saturday, February 11, 2006, during a scheduled early morning flight from Jakarta to Makassar. On that day, DHI-728, flying in what was reported as clear visibility and piloted by Tri Nusiyogo, left Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport at 6:20 a.m. bound for Makasar when it reportedly experiences a failure of all its navigation and radio equipment some 20 minutes into the flight.
Experiencing the equipment failure over the Central Javanese city of Semarang where the Makassar plane should have changed bearing to the northeast, the pilot continued on a southeasterly bearing passing over almost the entire length of Java, Bali's north coast, the island of Lombok, and bisecting Sumbawa island north to south, before making an emergency landing at Tambolaka on West Sumba island. Short on fuel and with its pilot not sure of his location for nearly four hours, the airplane made its emergency landing some 800 miles south of its intended destination. The Boeing 737-300 miraculously managed to land without any injury to its passengers on the 1,600 meter long runway, considerably shorter than the 2,200 meter specification set by the aircraft's manufacturer. According to a report in the Indonesian-language Kompas, however, all the aircraft's tires exploded during the emergency landing.
The incident caused Indonesia's Transportation Minister to promise a complete and thorough investigation within the context of his Department's crackdown on commercial air safety standards.
Formal sanctions are expected to be imposed on the Airline following an analysis of the planes flight data recorder. A report in The Jakarta Post quoted a Transportation Ministry official as indicating that the Pilot's license might be revoked and the Airline receive heavy penalties for failed safety protocols and a subsequent decision to remove the aircraft from Sumba before obtaining the required safety clearances from the Ministry. Another local paper suggested that criminal prosecutions of both the pilot and the Airline cannot be ruled out in connection with the incident.
Adam Air currently operates a fleet of nine-teen Boeing 737 aircraft.
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