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Oh Captain, My Captain

Indonesia's Airline Captains Quitting in Record Numbers to Join New Airlines at Home and Abroad.

(11/15/2004) The sudden upsurge in new national and regional air carriers is making itself felt at Garuda Indonesia (GA) and Merpati Nusantara (MZ) where cockpit crew are reportedly leaving in record numbers to accept more lucrative positions with competing airlines.

The Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia reports that no fewer than 35 pilots have already left MZ over the past 5 months while GA has witnessed the resignation of 16 of their pilots. According to the report, the pilots, lured by better pay and benefit packages, have left their current positions to accept jobs with domestic carriers such as Adam Air and Lion Air, or with overseas airlines including Air Asia, Qatar Airways, Eva Air and Singapore Airlines.

The President of the Association of Garuda Pilots (APG), Arie Supari, has reportedly approached the Minister of Transportation, Hatta Radjasa, and the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Soegiharto, to urged urgent steps be taken to stop the exodus of Indonesian pilots. Supari, the head of the organization representing all Garuda pilots, predicted that the total number of Garuda Pilots resigning from the airline would reach 50 by the end of 2004 if the Government does not take immediate steps to remedy the situation.