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Pilots Who Donít Eat

Hungry Pilots and Staff of Merpati Airline Plead for Help from Indonesian Lawmakers

(3/23/2014) Detik.com reports that hundreds of employees of State-owned PT Merpati Nusantara Airline visited the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) on Monday, March 17, 2014.

The airline staff comprised of pilots, cabin staff and technicians met with a member of Commission X of the DPR, Sumaryoto, for a question and answer session regarding the fate of the troubled airline.

One or Merpati’s captains, Wahyudin explained the presence of the delegation at the DPR was not being done in the name of any union or association, but in the name of “hungry employees who have not been paid for four months.”

Wahyudin told the lawmakers how the pilots and other workers at Merpati had already visited the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) in order to obtain an explanation from the airline's main shareholder. That delegation had called on the BUMN Minister Dahlan Iskan to fire the CEO of Merpati, Captain Asep Ekanugraha, who has proven himself unable to resolve the Airline’s financial problems.

“We demand that Captain Asep be replaced. If the Company is to be liquidated then Rp. 1.7 billion is needed be paid (in severance) to its employees. If the Airline wants to continue to operate, then Merpati needs Rp 700 billion,” said Wahyudin,

The Merpati employees say promises from BUMN to give them an answer to their plea within one week’s time have come and gone.

Meanwhile, Captain Adithya Priyo, who is the Secretary General of Merpati’s Pilots Association, explained that the current state of the Airline’s finances are the worst they have ever been since the company was established in the 1960s.

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