The prestigious Indonesia Digest published by Wuryastuti Sunario reports:
On 15 July 2009 EU officially lifted its ban on 4 from 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to and from Europe which the Union imposed in July 2007.
Although Garuda Indonesia had suspended its flights to Europe before that, the ban has practically affected not only the trust and image of Indonesia's airlines safety but has stopped European tour operators from selling tours to Indonesian domestic destinations served by Indonesian carriers because of the lack of insurance coverage. With the lifting of the ban, European Tour operators may now resume selling destinations served by Garuda and Mandala airlines on connecting flight from Singapore, Malaysia, Jakarta or Bali to Semarang, Lombok, Medan, Padang, Makassar, Moluccas and other preferred destinations.
In a press conference held by the Minister of Transportation, Jusman Syafii Jamil and EU Ambassador Julian Wilson, the Minister said that EU has assured that the ban on other airlines will be lifted after re-certification to obtain the AOC (air operator certificate) as stipulated by Law No. 1/2009 on Air Transportation.
In July 2007 EU banned all Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe in the wake of a slew of air accidents. In two years Indonesia has made large strides in correcting the 121 findings by ICAO in 2007, said the Minister. The new Air Transportation Law strengthens the role of the government in regulating air transportation.
ďIt has been confirmed that Indonesia has made a great achievement by improving its air safety. I think at least two more airlines will be removed from the EU ban in the near future. Very possibly, [they will be] Lion Air and Air Asia Indonesia," Wilson told The Jakarta Post in a prior interview.
He said the EU would consider taking other Indonesian airlines off the list when the Indonesian directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) recertified them.
The four airlines immediately released from the ban are: Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, Airfast and Premi Air. Garuda Indonesia and Mandala are scheduled airlines, while Airfast and Premi Air are charter operators. This does not mean that other Indonesian airlines are not safe, assured Minister Syafii.
Following the lifting of the ban, Garuda Indonesia plans to fly to Amsterdam via Dubai before the end of the year using A330-200 aircrafts, said Garuda President Director, Emirsyah Satar. Further on, the airline plans to expand its Europe routes to London and Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, Mandala Airlines President Director, Diono Nurjadin said that his company has as yet no plans to fly to Europe but will focus on serving European travellers to Indonesia through interline connections.
Since the ban, a number of favoured Indonesian tourist destinations, such as the Moluccas, Lombok, on Kalimantan, Java and Sulawesi not directly served by other international airlines have suffered a dearth of tourists since European tourists on package tours have stopped coming there. Compared to tourists from Asia who stay in Indonesia for a maximum one week, Europeans used to stay more than one month travelling across the archipelago.
Four airlines likely to be lifted from the ban soon are: Lion Air, Batavia Air, Sriiiwijaya Air and Indonesia AirAsia.
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