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Flight QZ8510 Tragedy: Indonesian Authorities Trying To Blame AirAsia?

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KUALA LUMPUR – Indonesia’s move to suspend AirAsia’s Surabaya-Singapore route beginning yesterday is something to look at. It raises the question, how could this events concerning the carrier and flight QZ8501 could have taken place if the Indonesian authorities did their job right.

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STORY 1 – Indonesia Suspends AirAsia’s Surabaya-Singapore Route For Violating Operational Hours

SURABAYA – AirAsia Indonesia did not have a license to fly the Surabaya-to-Singapore route on Sunday that ended in tragedy, it has been revealed.

The airline was approved to fly the route four days a week but it did not include Sunday.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Transport has announced a full investigation and suspended Indonesia AirAsia flights between the two cities. It will also check all other airlines operating in the country to make sure they were complying with license agreements.

Indonesia AirAsia CEO Sunu Widyatmoko was quoted on local television as saying the airline would cooperate fully with the investigation and would not be releasing any statement until the results were known. He has not returned calls from CNN.

AirAsia Indonesia is a subsidiary of the Malaysian-based AirAsia group. The parent company owns 49% of the Indonesian operation.

The investigation will focus on the operations of AirAsia Indonesia and state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura 1, which manages Surabaya airport.

Transport Minister Ignatious Jonan described the airline’s breach as a “serious violation.”

“How could they fly? Who would they have to approach to be able to make that flight. It would have to be the airport management or lobby air traffic control.”

He said the investigation is expected to take about a week.

“It’s not complicated. There is a checklist of what should and should not have been done.”

He said penalties ranged from AirAsia losing the right to fly the Surabaya-Singapore route through to grounding the entire operation, “depending on the evidence from the investigation.”

Meanwhile, Air Asia Indonesia’s safety and security director Captain Ahmad Sadikin said on Friday that he was not aware of the suspension and reiterated that the airline had never operated a route without a permit.

“I cannot answer in detail, since I have not heard about the suspension yet. But if we do not have permission, then definitely we will not fly,” Sadikin was quoted as saying. – CNN

STORY 2 – AirAsia Pilot’s Final Request Not Approved, Was This Request Taken Seriously Enough

SURABAYA – It took about two minutes for air-traffic control to respond to AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA)’s ill-fated Flight 8501 when the pilot requested permission to fly higher, according to Indonesia’s air navigation operator.

In the final communication from the plane, one of the pilots asked to climb 38,000 feet, said Wisnu Darjono, director at AirNav Indonesia, citing a transcript of the conversation from the National Transport Safety Committee. Air traffic control authorized the plane to ascend only to 34,000 feet about two minutes later, after which contact was lost, Darjono said.

Accuweather.com data shows there were storms along the path of the plane, which Indonesia’s air transport director has said was flying at 32,000 feet (9,800 meters.) There were six planes at different altitudes passing in the area at the time, which contributed to the delayed response, according to AirNav.

Air-traffic control “couldn’t immediately give permission to fly at 38,000 feet because checks needed to be made to see if there were other planes nearby,” Darjono said in a phone interview. The “pilot didn’t reply.” – Bloomberg

STORY 3 – Indonesian Transport Minister ‘Responsible For Disappearance’

JAKARTA — The disappearance of the AirAsia jet en route from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday — the latest of many recent air incidents for Indonesia — has put pressure on the country’s Transport Ministry, with an opposition politician saying the minister should be held responsible.

Mr Syaifullah Tamliha, an opposition politician from the United Development Party (PPP), said on recently that Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan should be held responsible for the crash. “The Ministry of Transport is responsible. This is the first plane crash since (Mr Jonan) took over the ministry (in October).”

Mr Tamliha added that, as Transport Minister, Mr Jonan should be familiar with the entire transportation system — not only trains but also aviation. The minister was director of railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (Persero). “Mr Jonan must have high flight-safety standards (in areas) such as routine in-flight maintenance and so on,” he said.

Mr Tamliha also took issue with the way flight information was disseminated, saying it was lacking and difficult to access.

In response, Mr Jonan announced that an investigation would be conducted to review Indonesia AirAsia to ensure its performance could be better in the future. – TODAY/Agencies

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