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Indonesia Pilots Threatening Strike Action

Unhappy with Criminal Conviction of a Garuda Pilot, Indonesian Aviators May Ground National Air Fleet if Strike Threat Materializes.

(5/2/2009) Both Tempo Interactive and Jakarta Globe have carried reports suggesting that Indonesia's commercial pilots federation is considering strike action in retaliation for the recent criminal conviction and two-year sentence handed down to a Garuda pilot in connection with a fatal crash of a Garuda aircrafts in March 2007. [See: Landing in Jail]

Indonesian pilots, speaking through their association, are threatening to stop flying unless the appeal courts reject the conviction of the man at the wheel of the ill-fated Garuda flight, Captain Marwoto, and instead apply the "law on Air Travel." The Pilot's Federation Chairman, Monotar Napitupulu, complains that the recent court case criminalizes the pilot profession and has made Indonesian airspace an unattractive work environment for aviators.

Pilots maintain that the police should not be involved in investigating aviation accidents and that safety equipment, such as flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders should not be introduced as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Meanwhile, transportation officials have warned the pilots about initiating any industrial strike action, warning such a move could tarnish the image of Indonesia's aviation industry.