Is It Safe?

Last updated: May 4, 2015
Airline Ratings logo

Independent research answers a common question about Indonesian airlines.

One of the more frequently asked questions the author receives about Indonesian airlines is about the recommended airline’s safety record. It is relatively difficult to answer the question using independent research and statistics, until now.

Airline Ratings logo 2

A new website uses “recognised industry processes and organisations” to rate the safety (and quality) of airlines around the world to help passengers make an informed choice. It claims to provide:

an objective A-Z portrayal of the global airline industry with an industry first transparent airline safety rating system.

Seven Indonesian airlines were rated; the results are below. To give a more complete picture, the table also includes some additional measures of safety:

  • – Whether or not the airline is permitted to fly in EU airspace
  • – How many accidents – fatal and non-fatal – the airline has had since 1 January 2009.
Airline Safety
(/7)
Permitted To Fly
In EU Airspace
No. Accidents In
Last 5 Years
air-asia-logo-small StarStar EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 0
Fatal Accidents: 1
Citilink logo Star Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 0
Fatal Accidents: 0
Garuda Indonesia logo StarStarStar EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 0
Fatal Accidents: 0
Lion Air logo Star Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 4
Fatal Accidents: 0
Susi Air logo Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 1
Fatal Accidents: 3
Airline Safety
(/7)
Permitted To Fly
In EU Airspace
No. Accidents In
Last 5 Years
Sriwijaya Air logo Star Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 2
Fatal Accidents: 0
Trigana Air logo Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 1
Fatal Accidents: 1
Wings Air logo Star Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 0
Fatal Accidents: 0
New Express Air logo Star Not EU Approved Non-Fatal accidents: 1
Fatal Accidents: 0

Sources: Airline Ratings, EU Blacklist Indonesia, Wikipedia

Is Lion Air Under-rated?

Lion Air Crash Landing In Bali
StarStar
Lion Air
Deaths: 0
Air France Crash
StarStarStarStarStarStar
Air France
Deaths: 228

One industry commentator has questioned how Air France received a six-star rating when pilot error caused a 2009 crash killing all 228 passengers and crew, while Indonesia’s largest airline Lion Air received two stars with no fatalities. AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas responded:

We use ICAO and IATA’s Operational and Safety (IOSA) audits, as you suggest the EU black list, the FAA assessment and then fatalities over the past 10 years…. [Lion Air] failed the IOSA audit, is banned from the EU and the US and tragically passengers have lost their lives.

The last fatal Lion Air crash was in 2004, using an aircraft type (MD-82) that is no longer in service, landing in heavy rain. Seven-star airlines Qantas and Singapore Airlines have had similar accidents.

What About Other Airlines?

Obviously, it is not possible for websites like these to cover every airline. The following are not rated:

Batavia Air logo Kal-Star logo TransNusa logo

For the others, the standard response is that Mau Ke Mana doesn’t sell tickets on airlines it has safety concerns about. Also, the author has personally flown on most of these airlines and would happily do so again.


If you have a question about the safety of a particular Indonesian airline or more generally about flying in Indonesia, please ask it below in the comment field.



42 Comments on “Is It Safe?”

  1. avatar g. says:

    what about kal star and trigana on the route from surabaya / jakarta to Pangkalan Bun?

  2. avatar Chris says:

    Hi g,

    On AirlineRatings.com, Trigana Air is rated as a 2-star airline, while Kal-Star isn’t rated.

    We aren’t concerned about these airlines’ safety records, and Pangkalan Bun is one of our most popular destinations.

    As you can see on our Flight Memory page, we have sold many tickets on both airlines; Trigana Air is #7 for most flights and Kal-Star is #9. Also Pangkalan Bun is our #10 most used airport, and Jakarta to Pangkalan Bun is #10 most flown route.

  3. avatar Chris says:

    AirAsia Indonesia now has a separate rating from its parent company (AirAsia Malaysia), and has received a higher rating of 5/7. It now shares the equal highest safety rating of any Indonesian airline, with Garuda Indonesia.

    The table above has been updated to reflect this.

  4. avatar AM says:

    Hi,
    I wanna ask about the newest status of Lion Air. Is it safe? What about service and so on?
    We’re gonna fly with Lion Air to Bali next December. And unfortunately, we already booked it. After that, we saw some experiences with this airline, it’s not so really nice to know that. Could you give us some Info?
    Thanks!

  5. avatar Chris says:

    Lion Air recently improved its safety rating from 2 stars to 3 stars, because it is now 10+ years since any passengers died on a Lion Air flight (unlike Garuda Indonesia, Trigana Air and Susi Air).

    As it says in the post:

    Mau Ke Mana doesn’t sell tickets on airlines it has safety concerns about. Also, the author has personally flown on most of these airlines and would happily do so again.

  6. avatar Chris says:

    After its fatal accident on 28 December 2014, AirAsia Indonesia has lost one star and is now rated 4/7 for safety.

  7. avatar ellybeth82 says:

    Hi,
    We are 6 Italians and we booked a flight with Thai AirAsia. Is it so dangerous such as the Indonesia AirAsia? I’m really worried….

  8. avatar Chris says:

    I don’t think it’s correct to describe AirAsia Indonesia as “dangerous”.

    I have flown AirAsia Indonesia twice without incident. Our clients have flown Thai AirAsia (from Bali to Bangkok) with no problems.

    Until last month, AirAsia Indonesia had the equal best safety rating with Garuda Indonesia of 5/7.

    Even some of the 7-star airlines – e.g. Singapore Airlines, Qantas – have had incidents and accidents in the past.

  9. avatar Kira says:

    Hi, How safe is Sriwijaya airlines? We have a flight from Pandang to Jakarta and I’m kinda worried. Thanks any information will help.

  10. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Kira,

    Sriwijaya Air is the third largest domestic airline after Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air. It has been operating since 2003 and has never had any fatal accidents. It is a mid-range airline, not budget and not full-service. You get a snack and 20kg free baggage allowance. Previously, they had a bit of a reputation for using old planes, but this has changed in recent years. More information: Sriwijaya Air Wikipedia page

    I have flown Sriwijaya Air and would happily do so again.

    At the time of writing, Mau Ke Mana clients have flown with Sriwijaya Air 219 times without incident. More information:


    Mau Ke Mana’s page on Flight Memory

  11. avatar Jesus says:

    Hello
    I want to go to Pangkalanbun from Jakarta in order to see orangutans.
    But there is a problem, I have a big big fear of planes, but I can controle it.
    But, I should go with trigana and Im really afraid about their safety.
    Are the planes very old?
    Do you think is safe or should I cancel the travel?
    Thanks.

  12. avatar Jesus says:

    I cannot see trigana at the web airline ratings, it appears as rating pending.

  13. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Jesus,

    Flights between Jakarta and Pangkalan Bun is our most popular route and the majority fly with Trigana. No clients have reported any incidents or anything else that concerned them.

    There is more information about Trigana Air on their Wikipedia page.

    At the time of writing, Trigana Air had a two-star rating. Its last accident was in 2006.

    Unfortunately, its main competitor (Kal-Star), is not rated.

  14. avatar ashok says:

    What about kalstar and trigana air?

  15. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Ashok,

    Please read the post again and you’ll find the answer: Trigana Air – 2-stars, Kal-Star is unrated.

  16. avatar STEPHANIE says:

    HI… I WANT TO FLY FROM JAKARTA TO BALI… WHAT IS THE BEST SUGGESTED AIRLINE FOR THIS…

  17. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    All the larger airlines fly this route (AirAsia, Citilink, Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air).

    Of these airlines, Garuda Indonesia (5-stars) has the best rating, AirAsia (4-stars) is second best, Citilink, Lion Air and Sriwijaya Air are equal third (3-stars).

    If you would like a quote, please send an enquiry.

  18. avatar Pilar says:

    Hi.
    We have read that Garuda Indonesia will start the route Jakarta to Pangkalanbun this year.
    Is it true?
    Thanks.

  19. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Pilar,

    Lots of airlines SAY they will start flights to Pangkalan Bun – e.g. Wings Air, Sriwijaya Air, Garuda Indonesia – but until they actually start selling tickets we do not add it to our Pangkalan Bun flight schedule.

  20. avatar Tony says:

    on the basis that Trigana has two stars does it make it safer than Kalstar which appears not to be rated. I am quite nervous of flying with any Indonesian airline!

  21. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Tony,

    The short answer is no, but here’s why.

    It is not possible for AirlineRatings.com to cover every airline, and obviously AR tends to do the bigger ones first.

    Trigana Air is rated because it’s bigger than Kal-Star. Batik Air hasn’t been rated in the past because it’s new and small. Like Kal-Star, TransNusa is a small regional airline.

    We try to help our clients make informed choices. To that end, here is more information about: 1. Kal-Star, 2. Batik Air, 3. TransNusa

    Also, our clients fly Kal-Star all the time to/from Pangkalan Bun. They have flown Kal-Star 148 times so far, without incident. More information:


    Mau Ke Mana’s page on Flight Memory

  22. avatar Chris says:

    All Indonesian airlines’ safety ratings have been penalised two stars after Indonesia failed a recent ICAO safety audit.

  23. avatar Mike Wong says:

    im taking Lion Air for the first time from Palangkaraya to Jakarta. Is it a reliable airline?

  24. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Mike,

    Lion Air is middle of the range for on-time performance and reliability.

    Lion Air is also Indonesia’s largest domestic airline in terms of passenger numbers and our clients fly Lion Air all the time, e.g. 240 flights in 2014.

  25. avatar Eleanor says:

    Hi,

    I am flying from Singapore to Sorong via Jakarta, with the second leg Jakarta-Sorong with Xpress air.. as it is a 5hr30min flight and I am a nervous flyer, I am very worried about their safety record. Could you please shed some light on this?

    Also would you advise against such a long flight with a slightly sub-standard airline? This flight does run 1x/day without a problem for the past couple of years, but I am still worried.

    The other option is to fly Singapore-Jakarta-Makassar-Sorong using Garuda for every flights, but obviously this involves changing twice which is less than ideal.

    What would you suggest based on comfort and safety record?

    Many Thanks,

    Eleanor

  26. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Eleanor,

    I wouldn’t describe Xpress Air as “sub-standard”. It has operated for many years without any issues. Every Indonesian airline was penalised two stars recently when the country failed a safety audit for poor oversight.

    Also, local time is Sorong is two hours ahead of Jakarta, so it is a 4-hour flight, not 5½. This is well within the operating capacity of a Boeing 737. Other airlines fly non-stop between Jakarta and Jayapura, a 6-hour flight.

    Our clients usually prefer to fly other airlines to Sorong because the other airlines (Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air) are often cheaper.

    If you want to sleep on the way to Sorong, Xpress Air is a good option because it is the only non-stop flight. Garuda Indonesia and Sriwijaya Air offer business class if you want extra comfort. You can see the safety ratings above.

  27. avatar Stacy says:

    I wonder if you can advise which is the best airline to fly one way from Jogjakarta to Jakarta. I am a nervous flier. I am concerned about safety records and aged planes. I know Citilink offers reasonable priced flights. But I would rather pay more to feel assurance of safety. Also – Citilink is in process of getting new A320’neo planes. Are chances high or low of getting a new plane on commuter flight? Thanks in advance for advice.

  28. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Stacy,

    All the larger Indonesian domestic airlines – AirAsia Indonesia, Citilink, Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air – fly this route.

    Citilink is the budget airline operated by Garuda Indonesia (the airline with the best safety rating) so it should be ok; they share the same management, maintenance crew, etc. Please note that Citilink flights on this route go to Jakarta’s second airport, Halim Perdanakusuma (HLP). The main airport is Soekarno-Hatta Airport (CGK). If you are connecting to an international flight, flying Citilink may not be suitable.

    Another alternative would be to take the train from Yogyakarta to Jakarta; we sell train tickets also. The schedule is here.

  29. avatar Mel says:

    Hi Chris,

    Many thanks for all your responses; I’ve been reading through them and find them informative.

    I’ve read that the haze right now is affecting certain airline routes within Indonesia.

    We are planning to fly from Bali to Lombok. Do you know if these areas/routes are affected by the haze?

    What is the safety record of Garuda airlines flying this route? Thanks again

  30. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Mel,

    Only airports in Sumatra and Kalimantan are affected by haze. Bali and Lombok are not.

    Airlines get one safety rating for everything, not a different score by route.

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