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Government Ask Garuda to Pack Their Bags for Amsterdam

Government Seeks to 'Fast Track' Removal of EU Blacklisting of Indonesian Aviation by Pushing Ahead with Plans to Resume an Amsterdam Service.

(3/8/2008) Bisnis Indonesia reports Indonesia's Director General of Air Communications, Budhi Suyitno, has asked Garuda Indonesia to begin preparing the infrastructure for resumed air service between Bali and Amsterdam. According to the report, the Government's view is that putting in place aircraft, manpower, ticket offices and other elements to support a Holland service will accelerate a lifting of the European Union "blacklisting" currently preventing Indonesian registered aircraft from flying over European airspace.

Aircraft Needed

The Indonesian Government's urgings to the contrary, the greatest obstacle to Garuda's return to Europe may be the lack of suitable aircraft within Garuda's armada to operate the long-haul route. Airline officials have indicated that the best aircraft to fly the Amsterdam Indonesia route would be a Boeing 777-300ER - an aircraft type not currently operated by Garuda.

Indonesian aircraft have been declared unsafe and banned from flying into European airspace since July 6, 2007, when the 27-member-country European Union first announced the "blacklisting."

Apparently, Indonesian aviation officials believe the removal of the "blacklisting" can be fast-tracked by announcing their intentions to resume commercial flight operations to Europe.

Such a strategy may, however, prove problematic as only 2 of the 27 European member nations need object for the "blacklisting" for the entire EU to remain in place.

EU Ban to be Discussed in July

Despite urgings from the Indonesian Government that the European Union review its current ban in April, it now appears almost certain that the Indonesian blacklisting will only be tabled for review at the July meeting of the EU Commission.

The EU Commission meeting scheduled for April 17th requires that a written report from Jean Pierre Ambrosini, the EU Aviation specialist assigned to Jakarta, be submitted before a pre-meeting deadline of March 15th. Because Ambrosini has only just started his Indonesian assignment it will not be possible for him to compile a detailed assessment of recent improvements in Indonesia's aviation security and safety procedures in time for the April gathering.

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[The Unfriendly Skies of Europe]

[Raising the Bar on Indonesian Air Safety]