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EU Extends its Ban on Indonesian Aviation

EU Sites Poor Oversight and Administrative Control of Air Safety by Indonesian Government as Basis for Continued Blacklisting.

(7/26/2008) Aviation safety officials from 27 European Union nations have met and decided to extend the current blacklisting of Indonesian aviation first introduced by the EU in June 2007.

An effective prohibition against any aircraft from Indonesia's 51 air carriers entering into EU airspace, the extension of the current blacklisting virtually dooms Garuda Indonesia's plans for an early resumption of air service to Western Europe.

Who's to Blame?

A statement issued by the European Commission suggest that the continuing blacklisting may have less to do with unsafe Indonesian airlines and more to do with poor governmental supervision of the national aviation sector: "The Indonesian authorities have still not developed and implemented an efficient oversight program on any of the carriers under their regulatory control."

In response to Indonesian critics of the ban who have accused the EU of playing politics, the aviation committee has told the Indonesian that they are welcome to appeal the blacklisting to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The EU decided to continue the blacklisting after seeing presentations from the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authorities and three Indonesian airlines: Garuda Indonesia, Mandala and Air Fast. During the course of the one year blacklisting Garuda has satisfied International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certification and Mandala Airlines anticipates certification in the near future.

While Indonesian airlines continue to make significant steps to improve safety and security, the EU remain less than fully impressed with the standard of governmental oversight and control.

Affirming this view was a statement made by Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, Jusman Stafii Djalil, who told NusaBali who said the EU sees the main weakness in Indonesian aviation is with the regulator (i.e. the civil aviation authorities)."Although we have fulfilled 61 of the 69 findings of the EU, the documents and proof submitted by Indonesia are considered inadequate to demonstrate safe aviation conditions," explained Jusman.

While acknowledging the steps taken by the three airlines making presentations before the EU officers, the official statement again pointed at government shortcomings saying "no detailed information has been given regarding the surveillance of all other Indonesian air carriers in both the areas of maintenance and flight operations."

Introduced in June 2007, the EU ban followed a series of fatal air mishaps across Indonesia.

The continuing EU ban represents a hardship for many secondary destinations within Indonesia, with some European visitors refusing to venture beyond Indonesia's international gateways where flights on domestic carriers are required,

In a separate, but related, report Indonesia's President Susilo Bambamg Yudhoyono has vowed not to visit any pf the countries within the European Union until such a time as he can do so on a non-blacklisted Indonesian aircraft.