Indonesia to freeze licences of airlines with less than 10 planes


Jakarta, Feb 25 (IANS): In a move aimed at boosting service and safety, the Indonesian transport ministry Wednesday announced it will revoke operational licences of airlines which have less than 10 planes.

The official statement came in the wake of hundreds of passengers of low-cost carrier Lion Airline being stranded at airports a few days ago due to mechanical problems and an unusually large number of travellers.

The recent incidents follow the crash of an Indonesia AirAsia plane Dec. 28 in the Java Sea in which all 162 people on board were killed.

Muzafar Ismail, director for air transport of the Indonesian transport ministry, said an air carrier must have at least 10 planes to operate or the ministry will free its operational permit, starting July 1, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of the 10 planes, the director said the airline may only own five of them with the remaining rented.

"So, if by June 30, an airline does not comply with the request, we will stop its operation," he said.

Indonesian transport authorities have intensified efforts to audit safety and operational aspects of airliners after the AirAsia plane crash in December, in part, to prevent the repeat of such tragedy and boost services to consumers in Indonesia, one of the fastest growing aviation markets.

Starting from March 1, the transport ministry is set to start auditing safety standards of all airlines operating in the country and will announce its safety rating in September, Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan told Xinhua.

The European Union imposed a travel ban on some Indonesian airlines in 2007, many of them budget airlines, over safety concerns. The ban was lifted two years later with the improvement of safety.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago country with a population of over 238 million and a growing middle class, is a potential market for budget airline industry as the government aims to build air transport to connect over 17,500 islands.

 

  

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