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#50585 - 01 May 07 11:57 Radjasa meets Press
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
This press briefing took place in Jakarta with the JFCC on April 17
Transport Safety

Press Briefing: Hatta Radjasa, Minister of Transportation

After two major air accidents in Indonesia in less than three months, the national safety regulator made an audit of airline safety. Its conclusions were chilling. None of the 20 national carriers operating in the country were found to have complied with basic international safety standards, while seven were found to be severely wanting. Despite this, no airlines’ licences have been revoked and no one from the government has been held accountable. Meanwhile, an investigation into the cause of the January 1 Adam Air crash has stalled. The following is an excerpt of an interview with Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa and his director general for air transport, Mohammad Iksan Tatang, held by the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club. The April 17 meeting was recorded by Radio KBR 68H.

Robin McDowell (Associated Press): Regarding the Adam Air crash, when you talk about your commitment to finding out what happened, does this have something to do with the cost of the investigation, or are you willing to go ahead without a consideration of costs? The reason I ask this is because I don’t see any effort at all to retrieve the black box of the Adam Air aircraft that went down on New Year’s Day.

Hatta: In detail I think I would like to invite Pak Tatang to explain about the progress of the investigation, but I would like to assure you that it does not depend on budget limitations, we have to investigate the crash completely and the funds for this investigation are available from our state budget.

McDowell: But as I understand it, retrieving the black box is now up to Adam Air.

Hatta: That’s right, the black box of the aircraft has already been located by the United States military, but now Adam Air is dealing with two companies, Phoenix and Smits [salvage companies, Smit Internationale and Phoenix International], and negotiating the terms [of the salvage contract]. However, Adam Air has promised to the government that they are going to pay to recover the black box, which is more than 2000 meters under the sea.

McDowell: But ultimately you’re leaving this to Adam Air—the government is doing nothing to retrieve this black box?

Hatta: Well it is according to our regulations—that the black boxes have to be retrieved by the transport operator.

McDowell: Well it has been three months now…

Hatta: Well, yes, but we are still trying. Pak Tatang, can you explain the latest development on the black box?

Tatang: Yes, the black box of the Adam Air jet was lost some months ago in [sea near] Makassar. Locating the box is the full responsibility of the [Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee] NTSC, Adam Air as an operator and the Indonesian Government. Regarding their responsibility, I think now Adam Air has worked intensively to coordinate and plan for a vessel [to find the box] and after that I think they came to an agreement that Adam Air and Phoenix would retrieve the black box from the sea.

McDowell: But I understand that Adam Air wants a guarantee from the salvage company that they would retrieve the black box, while no salvage company is agreeing to such terms.

Hatta: No I think that they have already agreed.

Tatang: The NTSC feels this is an Indonesian problem. Therefore the organisation will attempt to retrieve the box from the bottom of the sea with the utmost effort, Indonesian efforts, to do so. [Efforts are] not just coming from Adam Air, the NTSC will seek to use all the ways open to it to take the black box from the sea.

(Question from the floor): Will you issue a deadline for the black box to be recovered?

Tatang: No, that depends on the technology given to us or the technology from the United States.

(Question from the floor): How much longer will this process take?

Tatang: I’m not sure, maybe six months, or maybe more …

Hatta (interrupting): I don’t think it will be six months from now because there is almost an agreement from Adam Air and Phoenix and the Smits or Phonenix salvage company from the United States. They’ve already submitted a report to us—which one is it [asks Tatang] Phoenix or Smits?

(Question from the floor): How long is it going take to get the black box? How much time do you still have [before the battery for the box’s locator signal runs out]?

Tatang: It depends on the result of the Adam Air and Phoenix agreement.

(Question from the floor): But how much time before all this information is lost. Isn’t power for the locator device in the black box going to run out soon?

Tatang: I think for the black box we still have time. For the box’s battery, it has a life of about six years, but I think for the pinger [signalling device] there is only a one-month life. But I think that Phoenix’s sonar will still find the black box. Because the movement of the sea is not that strong, because I think the black box is sitting on the flat [ocean floor] and I think the movement of the current there is not strong. And I think the focus of our new investigation will not be far from the original location that we found the box.

Mark Forbes (Sydney Morning Herald): I would like to ask the minister a question. I must admit, I do operate on the somewhat naïve assumption that the minister is the person ultimately responsible for their portfolio. From where I sit safety in Indonesian aviation looks pretty much a joke to me. I mean we’ve had this farce over the black box recovery of Adam Air. Your own safety audit finds all 20 major airlines don’t meet safety requirements. We’ve found that Yogyarkarta Airport is operating in breech of its standards for its safety run-off, we’ve found that its emergency services are improperly trained and equipped according to your own investigation. Now, in this situation, what does it take for a minister like you to take responsibility? How many people have to die before you take responsibility, resign, or actually take some definitive action on these issues?

(Hatta confers with Tatang)

Hatta: Well so many journalists ask me the same question, ‘will you resign because there are so many accidents here?’ I say that is up to the president. I am ready to resign at any time—whatever the decision of the president is, this is the one I will have to follow. So for me resigning is up to the president. And I think that the president needs me, so I think that resigning is no problem. But for me, the problem is not really whether I should resign or not. Instead it is: what is the road map to strengthen safety? This is a very important and critical issue for us. And I think my colleague, Pak Tatang, can explain this.

Tatang: Right now, we are improving standards according to the recommendations made by our national evaluation. We have already conducted a [safety] classification of our 20 major airlines and none of them were given category one [fully compliant] status. Unfortunately, we have 14 airlines that were categorized as category two [partially compliant] and seven as category three [non-compliant in most areas]. We have already issued a warning letter to category two and three airlines.

Hopefully, within the next three months we will asses them again and notify them whether they are still in category two or whether they have been upgraded to a category one or from category three to category two. What is for sure is that there will be no more category three.

Next in the roadmap, we hope to install [air data smart probe] ADSP navigation systems in planes—they have already been installed in planes in several places as part of pilot projects in Kupang, Denpasar, Makassar and Natuna. We also have a radar project ongoing in Jayapura and we will install all national and international airports with new [instrument landing systems] ILS, replacing the old ones. To compliment this work we will extend more runways with safety margins and service areas, such as has been already done at some airports. This is our priority. We will also make an assessment of the safety facilities of our airports and basically improve on safety, including the improvement of navigational aids. And we already have a human resource programme ongoing, to improve our workers’ skills and competency and we will also conduct investigations into operators—evaluations not only of the airlines but of airport maintenance facilities as well.

For the airports we plan to implement the ALAR, or Approach Landing Accident Reduction, system as mandatory in the near future. basically we expect that through proper law enforcement, we will enhance our safety. We are focussed on safety, security services and compliance.

Moritz Kleine-Brockhoff (Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper): Pak Hatta, you have frequently called for more severe sanctions. You say they are important. If so then, why don’t you impose them? Why don’t you take some licenses away? Why is it always ‘tomorrow’ and ‘okay you have another three months’? I remember a while ago we heard that soon someone’s license would be revoked but it never happened.

Hatta: Well we did impose some sanctions, you know. We have already sanctioned the pilots and also the operators. And also the regulators.

Tatang: According to the regulations, all pilots suspected of involvement in misconduct are either grounded for six months or have their licenses revoked. This is already a common event. We have already grounded [the March 7 Garuda crash] pilot for an unlimited time until the investigation has been concluded.

(Question from the floor): How many pilots have been sanctioned or grounded?

Hatta: In the past six months I think we have already grounded more than 10 pilots. We have also fielded complaints from the airline operators about their pilots.

Kleine-Brockhoff: My second question relates to the most recent Garuda crash. The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that witnesses said the plane was going too fast when landing but the plane’s wing flaps were okay, they were in the right position. But the key question wasn’t answered. Why was the plane going too fast?

Tatang: The aircraft prepared to land at not-normal speeds as already observed by the witnesses. But why, I cannot answer, as this is still under investigation.

(Question from the floor): Did you ask the pilot about this? What did he say?

Tatang: Yes, but as well as the speed, there are also some other factors that have to be analyzed by the team. And we cannot jump to any conclusions; we have to analyze the situation, the technical factors and the personal factors; the pilots’ psychological state at the time of the crash, and so on.

(Question from the floor): Can you tell us what the pilots said?

Tatang: No, because under our regulations the investigation is still ongoing. Maybe I will be able to, in some three or four months in the future.

Hatta: I guarantee that a final report on the accident will be published and open to the public.

Debbie (Straits Times): You say you plan to modernize the infrastructure and equipment in the air transport sector. Do you have an estimate of how much an overhaul would cost? You said that you will need some private-public participation, presumably because of the lack of government funds. Won’t this take a long time? Will Indonesia still be waiting with dilapidated airports for these projects two or three years from now? Finally, you have said that expenditure in air transportation would rise by 50 percent, what amount does this represent?

Hatta: Two years ago we talked to private investors about 10 projects including railways, airports and seaports. Nine of them are currently ongoing and are under the management of state-owned enterprises. The only one project under public-private partnership is the seaport in Banten. PP projects are not easy because they take a lot of negotiating, about who is responsible for what. Talking about how they will take long, I cannot say, but I believe that this kind of scheme is very promising for Indonesia. We set up the rules with the World Bank and I think this will definitely see opportunities for positive change in the future.

For the second question, how much money does increased spending in the sector represent? I can say that in 2008 the state budget for air transportation will be around Rp 3.5 trillion [US$385 million]. As I said, most of our aircraft used in the commercial transport sector are around 20 years old; this doesn’t mean that they are not airworthy. But we do have a plan, we are currently in discussions with air operators and regulators and other stakeholders, to rule that the maximum age of an aircraft in the Indonesian air transport sector will be 10 years old. Whatever we decide, we are going to implement a new system before the end of this year. And I believe this will be accepted by the public.

Ruebin Carter (Dow Jones): Pak Hatta, you say you are ready to resign at any time if the president tells you to. To my mind, that means you think you are doing a bad enough job that you should resign, but you’re making it his problem. Why don’t you just take responsibility and resign yourself, if you think that’s how bad your performance has been?

Hatta: This is not easy to answer. I discussed [my resignation] with the president and also the vice president but I cannot tell you the details of this conversation. Thank you.

#50586 - 01 May 07 12:17 Re: Radjasa meets Press [Re: riccardo]
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Lots of definitive answers there. Almost every question with the 'WHEN' word was answered with: "sometime this year", "in maybe 6 months",

When can you tell us what the pilot said: "in some 3 or 4 months in the future".

AND what does Tatang mean by this: "What is for sure is that there will be no more category three." Like everybody will pass no matter what?
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

#50590 - 01 May 07 14:06 Re: Radjasa meets Press [Re: riccardo]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
what i find amazing is that no indonesian media to my knowledge published anything from this press conference at all.

note also that all the questioners were non-indonesian (US, australia and singapore, by the look). yes, i know it was at JFCC, but you'd expect at least a few indonesian journalists to be there.
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

#50606 - 01 May 07 14:34 Re: Radjasa meets Press [Re: KuKuKaChu]
chewwyUK Offline

Registered: 14 Sep 06
Posts: 2392
Loc: Jakarta
if it wasn't so frightening it would be funny. Let me have a wild stab in the dark at what the result will be ....


That is unless foreign countries provide the money.
Edited by Piss Salon
Edit Reason: taste


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