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April 17, 2008

Indonesia angered as nation\’s airlines all remain banned in EU airspace

Indonesia angered as nation’s airlines all remain banned in EU airspace

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

This B737-400 is comparable to the aircraft involved in all the accidents and incidents mentioned in this story. Adam Air is currently grounded and may have its license permanently revoked.
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

Indonesia has been angered by a decision of the European Union to leave all 51 of the nation’s air carriers on the list of air carriers banned in the EU. State-owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia had hoped to begin flights to Europe imminently and has ordered ten new jetliners to serve routes there and to the United States.

Transport ministry spokesperson Bambang Ervan said “This seems like an unfair punishment for Indonesia. The EU is not a sovereign country and is not a member of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). But we do respect the EU and its decision, and demand the same from the EU.”

The ban was imposed after a string of accidents, of which the three most important were Adam Air Flight 574, a 102-fatality accident in which a Boeing 737-43Q plunged into the ocean after pilots distracted by instrument failure failed to maintain control, Adam Air Flight 172, in which another B737 snapped in half after a hard landing and Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, in which a third B737 attempted landing at extreme speed and overshot the runway, killing 21.

Adam Air had also almost suffered a B737 crash the previous year, 2006, after a similar navigational instrument failure to that on Flight 574 caused the airliner to become lost for several hours, eventually performing an emergency landing hundreds of kilometres from its intended destination. Indonesia grounded the carrier in March after another accident in which a B737 overshot a runway. The carrier is also in severe financial difficulties and may soon be permanently shut down.

Meanwhile, the pilot of Garuda 200 has been charged over the accident, sparking intense controversy.

The EU reviewed the ban this week, but ruled that those responsible “have still to demonstrate that they have completed the corrective actions” needed to lift the ban. It is a blow to Indonesia, who had promised “fast-track” help to Garuda, Mandala Airlines, Premiair and Airfast to raise their safety to levels acceptable to the EU.



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March 25, 2008

Final report blames instrument failure for Adam Air Flight 574 disaster

Final report blames instrument failure for Adam Air Flight 574 disaster

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This B737-400 is comparable to the aircraft involved in all the accidents mentioned in this story. Note that Flight 574 was waiting repainting and was mostly in white, as pictured below.

A final report released today by the Indonesian National Transport Safety Committee found that Adam Air Flight 574 crashed because the pilots were distracted by an instrument failure. The loss of the budget carrier’s Boeing 737 into the sea near Sulawesi on New Year’s Day 2007 left all 102 on board missing and presumed dead.

The report found that the 737, registered PK-KKW, suffered a Inertial Reference System (IRS) failure. While pilots were troubleshooting for this navigational system they first unintentionally disconnected the autopilot, then failed to monitor other instruments informing them they were approaching the sea, crashing into it and destroying the aircraft.

The flight had been a scheduled domestic passenger service between Djuanda Airport at Surabaya and Sam Ratulangi Airport at Manado, and disappeared from radar screens at 35,000 feet.

National Transportation Safety Committee head Tatang Kurniadi told a press conference “This accident resulted from a combination of factors including the failure of the pilots to adequately monitor the flight instruments, especially in the last two minutes of the flight. Preoccupation with a malfunction of the Inertial Reference System diverted both pilot’s attention from the flight instruments and allowed the increasing descent and bank angle to unnoticed…

CG render of Adam Air’s PK-KKW Boeing 737-4Q8, which was lost in the accident

“The Cockpit Voice recorder revealed that both pilots were concerned about navigation problems and subsequently become engrossed with trouble shooting Inertial Reference System (IRS) anomalies for at least the last 13 minutes of the flight, with minimal regard to other flight requirements. This included identification and attempts at corrective actions.”

He also supplied a number of statistics concerning the final moments of the flight. Whilst in a right bank with sustained elevator input pushing up the nose the aircraft reached Mach 0.926 and 3.5g. The airspeed had reached 490 KCAS by the end of the recording. Investigator Santoso Sayogo said that the high speed impact caused the plane to disintegrate.

Adam Air had suffered previous navigational problems. In 2006 another B737 suffered a navigational problem and flew into a radar blackspot, leaving it lost for several hours before performing an emergency landing hundreds of miles from the intended destination. Sayogo said today that in the three months preceding the accident the airline had registered 154 defects in PK-KKW’s navigational equipment.

The accident has had wide-ranging effects. The crash, coupled with Adam Air Flight 172, which snapped in half during a hard landing, and Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, which overshot the runway in Yogyakarta, killing 21, prompted the European Union to add all Indonesia’s airlines to the list of air carriers banned in the EU. Earlier this month another Adam Air flight departed the end of a runway during landing, injuring five and damaging the plane. This prompted the authorities to ground Adam Air for three months after a regular evaluation, after which they may be permanently shut down. The airline is also in financial difficulty. All the accidents involved Boeing 737s.



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March 11, 2008

Five injured as Adam Air 737 overruns Batam island runway

Five injured as Adam Air 737 overruns Batam island runway

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On Monday, five people were injured after a Boeing 737-400, operated by Adam Air, overshot the runway today while landing at Hang Nadim Airport on the island of Batam in Indonesia.

The aircraft skidded 75 metres (245 feet) into a grassy field after touching down in rainy conditions. Damage was done to the right wing, hydraulics and main landing gear. The plane came to rest with the nose in the air and leaning towards the right.

Of the 176 passengers (one source says 174) and crew on board, five passengers required treatment for neck and head injuries.

Adam Suherman, president of the airline, said the plane had skidded 10 metres beyond the extreme end of the runway. He also gave the time of the crash as 10:40 and noted that the plane was currently resting on soft ground.

Suherman gave the registration of the aircraft as PK-KKT. This would make the aircraft the one Boeing gave the serial number 24353 and owned by CIT Group Incorporated.

Adam Air spokesman Danke Drajat described the plane as having been in “good condition” at its last major inspection in December. He suggested the weather condition may be to blame for the crash, the third to strike the budjet carrier in just over a year. On New Year’s Day in 2007 Flight 574 crashed into the sea, leaving 102 missing, presumed dead. The following month the fuselage of Flight 172 cracked in half during a hard landing. Both involved Boeing 737 aircraft.

Pantun Banjarnahor, Hang Nadim Airport’s chief of operations, said that visibility was adequate for a safe landing. The airport was closed for over two hours. It is unclear how many flights were affected.

The National Transportation Safety Committee is investigating.



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Adam Air may be shut down after string of accidents

Adam Air may be shut down after string of accidents

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Indonesian budget carrier Adam Air has been warned by Indonesia’s transport minister that unless the airline improves safety it will be shut down. Adam Air has suffered a string of recent accidents.

“We are giving them a chance to improve. If there’s no change, we will place them in the third category,” said Transport Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal, according to the state’s Antara news agency. The third category refers to the lowest a three-category ratings system for airline safety introduced last year. Airlines in the third category will be shut down in three months unless improvements occur. Adam Air is in the second category, which means that although the airline meets minimum requirements some problems still remain. “We give an early warning to make the carrier improve its safety,” Djamal told reporters.

The announcement follows the news yesterday that an Adam Air Boeing 737-400 had overshot the runway at Batam island’s airport, injuring five of the over 170 people on board. It is the third serious accident in just over a year. On New Year’s Day 2007 Adam Air Flight 574 crashed into the ocean near Sulawesi, leaving 102 missing, presumed dead. The following month Flight 172 cracked in half after a hard landing but held together, preventing fatalities. Both aircraft were Boeing 737s.

Danke Drajat, spokesman for Adam Air, said that the airline was making efforts to comply with the demand. “We are completing all manuals and revamping the standard operating procedure,” he said.

The Adam Air accidents accounted for two of the three main accidents that caused the European Union to ban Indonesian airlines from EU airspace last year over safety standards. The other, Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, involved a 737 belonging to the state owned flag carrier speeding off a runway at Yogyakarta during an attempted landing; 21 people were killed.



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September 11, 2007

Adam Air ticket sales revive after post-crash slump

Adam Air ticket sales revive after post-crash slump

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The passenger numbers for Indonesian budget airline Adam Air have increased dramatically, following a slump after the loss of Adam Air Flight 574 on New Year’s Day.

Adam Air usually carries 450,000 – 600,000 passengers a month, but lost about 30 percent of those immediately following the crash.

Adam Air corporate communications head Danke Dradjat explained the situation during a telephone conversation with reporters from The Jakarta Post. “There was a slowdown in the month following the crash, but it was brief and we managed to get back our passengers over the following three months, with a gradual increase of ten percent per month… There wasn’t any special campaign to get the passengers back. We only emphasized the fact that our aircraft were maintained and serviced by the same technicians as Garuda Indonesia,” he said. Garuda is Indonesia’s state-owned airline.

Adam Air currently operates services to as many as 150 destinations every day, including international services to Singapore and Malaysia. Danke, who defended Adam Air by pointing out that major airlines also suffer accidents, said he expects passenger numbers to continue increasing. “We’re expecting up to a 30 percent increase in passengers in the seven days before and after the Idul Fitri festivities.” According to Danke, Idul Fitri is one of three periods over which passenger numbers hit peak levels, the others being Christmas and New Year.



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August 28, 2007

Black boxes retrieved from lost Indonesian airliner after eight months

Black boxes retrieved from lost Indonesian airliner after eight months

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Eight months after the January 1st crash of Adam Air Flight 574 into Indonesian waters, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) have been retrieved from the wreckage.

The devices, collectively referred to as ‘black boxes’, had remained unrecovered over a dispute between the Indonesian government and the airline over who would bear the costs of salvage.

Only recently has a contract been signed with United States salvage firm Phoenix International, who arrived last week in Indonesia to receive the recorders, working co-operatively with the Indonesian Transport Safety Commission (ITSC) and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The boxes were located by an underwater remotely operated vehicle searching the seabed near Majene, Sulawesi, where the plane went down. They were approximately 2,000 metres (6,500 ft) down and 1,400 metres apart. The FDR was recovered on August 27 at midday and the CVR was retrieved the following day at 10 a.m.

According to Tatang Kurniadi, chairman of the ITSC, the boxes exibit only minor physical damage, but there is currently no way of knowing if the data they contain has been damaged or destroyed by their prolonged stay underwater.

The devices will now be sent to Washington for analysis by NTSB specialists.

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August 23, 2007

Salvage operation begins to retrieve black boxes from Adam Air Flight 574

Salvage operation begins to retrieve black boxes from Adam Air Flight 574

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

A salvage ship owned and operated by the United States firm Phoenix International has arrived in the Makassar port on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It intends to recover the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder (collectively referred to as “black boxes”) from the wreckage of Adam Air Flight 574, which crashed into the ocean nearby early on new year’s day, killing all 102 on board.

Adam Air spokesman Danke Drajat told reporters that the company would first survey the area, and that “If their studies show it is possible to do so, they will immediately try to retrieve the black boxes,” adding, “it is our moral commitment to have the black box retrieved.” He also said the survey alone would take several days.

A US navy vessel, the Mary Sears, sent to the scene of the plane’s disappearance had located the black boxes within weeks of the disaster, along with the rest of the wreckage, but recovery was significantly delayed because of a dispute over who would foot the bill for their recovery. With the recorders at a depth of approximately 1,700 meters (1 mile), salvage operations could cost as much as US$6 million (€4.45 million).

Experts have predicted that the recovery could be further complicated by strong currents in the area, which may have buried the recorders in sediment or else dislodged them from their original location.

According to one crew member, the recovery vessel – the Eas – has a 16-member crew and carries a mini submarine, which can reach depths of 6,000 meters (20,000 feet), as well as being equipped with sonar and deep sea cameras.

The crash is one of three this year, which in combination have caused all Indonesian airlines to be added to the list of air carriers banned in the EU. The other two are Adam Air Flight 172 and Garuda Indonesia Flight 200.

The cause of the Boeing 737s loss currently remains a mystery. It is known that while cruising at 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) the aircraft encountered a storm immediately before its disappearance, and, based on the distribution of wreckage on the seabed, it is also known that the aircraft did not experience an in-flight breakup.

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June 29, 2007

EU bans all Indonesian airlines as well as several from Russia, Ukraine and Angola

EU bans all Indonesian airlines as well as several from Russia, Ukraine and Angola

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Friday, June 29, 2007

The European Union banned all of Indonesia’s air carriers yesterday, none of which presently operate services to Europe, as well as several from Russia, Ukraine and Angola. They are the latest additions to the already extensive List of air carriers banned in the EU. The ban is scheduled to come into effect on July 6. Just hours after the ban a Boeing 737 operated by one of the blacklisted airlines, TAAG Angola Airlines, crashed into a house during landing, causing at least six fatalities in Northern Angola.

Indonesia currently has 51 airlines, having grounded several and revoked the licences of others on June 25. The EU said that substandard maintenance and operation and a slow reaction by Indonesia to solve the problem were the main causes of the ban. EU holidaymakers who have booked flights with banned airlines via travel agents will be refunded for the services.

EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said of the ban “Once more, the EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers travelling worldwide, but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety.”

Operations and safety editor at Flight International David Learmount commented that Indonesia, whose airline industry was deregulated the early 1990s, is one of a handful of cases where deregulation has lowered safety standards instead of improving them, saying of the move by the EU “Standards in aviation safety have been going up dramatically on a worldwide basis, but there are still places where they are [of the standards of] the 70s and 80s. In Indonesia the safety watchdog was told earlier this year to pull its socks up, but the EU is clearly convinced that it has not done so.”

One unnamed EU official was reported by The Guardian to have described Indonesia’s civil aviation authority as “not very reliable”, referring to a lack of reaction to warnings of an imminent ban and requests that Indonesia reassured officials that the problem was being dealt with.

Indonesia has responded to the ban by saying that, according to information unseen by the EU, Indonesian safety standards are rising. Director-general of civil aviation at the Indonesian transport ministry Budhi Mulyawan Suyitno told Reuters new agency that, “Our data can show them that we have improved on every line. The US had already downgraded Indonesia’s safety rating earlier this year.

Also affected by the bans are Ukraine’s Volare Aviation, while Russia has imposed bans on four of its airlines after consulting the EU and restricted six others, Bulgaria has revoked the licences of six cargo airlines and Moldova has banned eight airlines.

Meanwhile, Pakistan International Airlines, subject of a controversial EU ban earlier this year, had restrictions on some of its aircraft lifted. The airline’s fleet of Boeing 777s and some of their Boeing 747s and Airbus 310s will now be allowed back into European airspace.

The announcements come after three accidents involving Indonesian airliners – the New Year’s Day crash of Adam Air Flight 574, which killed 102 people, the subsequent accident involving Adam Air Flight 172, which cracked in half on a hard landing but held together, preventing serious injury, and the March crash of state-run Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, which claimed 23 lives. All the accidents involved ageing Boeing 737 aircraft.

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  • “Indonesia shuts down 4 airlines and grounds 5 others over safety concerns” — Wikinews, June 28, 2007

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June 28, 2007

Indonesia shuts down 4 airlines and grounds 5 others over safety concerns

Indonesia shuts down 4 airlines and grounds 5 others over safety concerns

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Indonesia has shut down four airlines and grounded five others with the potential of similar licence revocations for failing to meet safety standards.

The largest company to lose its licence is Jatayu Gelang Sejahtera. The other companies are all small airlines operating only aircraft with a passenger capacity of fewer than thirty, and are Aviasi Upataraksa, Alfa Trans Dirgantara and Prodexim. The companies that were grounded pending either improvements or licence revokation are Germania Trisila Air, Atlas Delta Setia, Survey Udara Penas, Kura-kura Aviation and SMAC, all of which also operate only aircraft with under-30 passenger capacities. They have three months to improve, or their licences will be revoked.

Jatayu had already ceased operations in August, but had intended to restart with a 150-seat Boeing 737. The licence was revoked because the state requires at least two aircraft to be commercially operated and because of the fact that it “was lacking in pilots and human resources”. Also, the age of the jetliner meant that it would require a test called a ‘C-Check’ before it could begin commercial services, at a cost of $120,000.

The action comes as the result of a number of air crashes, namely the Adam Air Flight 574 disaster in which 102 people were killed, and the Adam Air Flight 172 accident, in which a plane snapped in half during a hard landing, but managed to hold together, thus preventing any serious injuries. As a result, all 54 of Indonesia’s airlines were given a safety rating, with a level-1 rating meaning no action was needed, a level-2 rating meaning the airline needed to make some improvements, and a level-3 rating requiring that the airline be shut down unless improvements were made within three months. Most airlines received a level-2 rating, while none received the top rating. Adam Air was among the airlines to receive the level-3 rating, but was upgraded to tier 2 at the same time as the groundings.

Meanwhile, state-owned Garuda Indonesia is now the only airline to have a type-1 rating, despite the fatal crash of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 in March. According to the Indonesian Transport Ministry’s Director General for Aviation Budi Mulyawan Suyitno, Garuda now satisfied 84 percent of civil aviation standards.

The ratings have been based on such criteria as surveillance, ramp checks, personnel, department safety, number of accidents and number of serious incidents, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, Flight Global is reporting that, according to Directorate General of Air Communications (DGAC) director of air certification office, Yurlis Hasibuan “20 criteria including whether the airline has developed [better] safety and human resources” are checked.

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May 29, 2007

Adam Air strikes deal with salvage firm to retrieve black boxes of crashed airliner

Adam Air strikes deal with salvage firm to retrieve black boxes of crashed airliner

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An example of a cockpit voice recorder.

Indonesia budget airline Adam Air has reached an agreement with United States marine salvage firm Phoenix International to retrieve the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder (or “black boxes”) from Adam Air Flight 574, a Boeing 737 aircraft that crashed into the sea on New Year’s Day near Sulawesi, Indonesia during a scheduled domestic passenger flight, killing all 102 on board.

According to Adam Air chairman Adam Suherman.

Previous disputes had left doubts over whether the devices would be retrieved at all, with both the government and Adam Air placing responsibility for funding the oeir licedcedeach other. Indonesia does not have the equipment or the funds to conduct the oeir liceditself, and had originally asked Japan, France and the US for help. They eventually announced that they would not pay for the oeir lice, neither could they force Adam Air to.

A flight data recorder.

However, Adam Air took it upon themselves to retrieve the recorders, culminating in this agreement with Phoenix. The lack of either recorder has thus far made determining the cause of the disaster extremely difficult.

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