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Who's That Knocking at my Door?

Bad Driving at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport Spoils the Paint Jobs on Two Garuda Jets.

(3/2/2008) Two incidents within a single week at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport have brought more unwanted attention to Indonesia's national carrier Garuda.

On Monday night, February 25, 2008, a Boeing 737-400 suffered damage when an Aerowisata Catering truck dented the aircraft when its driver struck the aircraft during a transfer of in-flight meals. That accident left an 80 cm long gash along the side of the plane's fuselage that grounded the flight and caused delays to passengers scheduled to depart on the same plane the following morning.

While airport and airline authorities initially denied the incident, a page-one story including a picture of the damaged airplane on the front-page of Wednesday's Bali Post eventually prompted an official statement for the airport authority. In confirming an incident that at no time threatened the safety of passengers or crew, officials blamed the catering truck's driver who failed to follow set operating procedures. The press also reports that driver has been suspended and that his airport pass revoked.

Meanwhile, Bisnis Bali reports that the driver's special license for operating a vehicle on the airport's apron had expired at the time of the incident.

The affected aircraft was flown without passengers on Wednesday to Garuda's Maintenance Facility in Jakarta where, following minor repairs, the plane was tested, certified airworthy and returned to commercial service.

With Garuda still smarting with the embarrassment of Monday's incident, the Bali Post reported that on Wednesday, February 27th, a passenger stairway operated by PT Gapura Angkasa scratched the doorway of another Garuda Airplane at Bali's airport. The superficial scratch suffered by the aircraft's door did not affect flight schedules but has ignited a chorus of calls for better training and better adherence to operating procedures by airport workers.

On Friday, February 29, 2008, Indonesia's Minister of Transportation commented on the previous Monday's collision to the press labeling the mishap a "serious incident."