Indonesia Fails Air Safety Audit

Last updated: May 4, 2015
International Civil Aviation Organization logo

Indonesian airlines’ safety ratings penalised due to poor oversight.

In recent years, the safety ratings of Indonesia’s airlines have been improving. Some are now permitted to fly in EU airspace. Lion Air’s rating increased in 2014 after 10 years of fatality-free flying.

So, the author was surprised to discover recently that all the safety ratings had decreased by two stars. For example, Garuda Indonesia’s rating – 5 stars out of a possible 7 – is now 3 stars. When was asked what had happened, they replied:

Indonesia the country failed the last ICAO* audit in December/January, therefore ALL Indonesian airlines lost a further two stars to get to their current scores.

*International Civil Aviation Organisation

The author investigated Indonesia’s score:

ICAO Audit of Indonesia and Malaysia

The results show that Indonesia is:
1) Well below average in all 8 parameters (i.e. it scored 0/8), and
2) Worse than another country in the news lately regarding air safety: Malaysia.

Curiously, Indonesian media has not reported this concerning development. Even if ICAO ratings are less widely publicised, this is very different from the national outrage eight years ago when Indonesian airlines were first banned from EU airspace. Local journalists now seem hesitant to report any bad news about Indonesian air safety, even when the results could have been disastrous. There was nothing in e.g. Jawa Pos or Radar Surabaya after an enquiry into the emergency landing of a 2010 Cathay Pacific flight found engine problems were caused by contaminated fuel from Surabaya Airport.

So, bloggers such as Carl Bialik have filled the void. Written shortly after the crash of AirAsia QZ8501, he points out that AirAsia Indonesia didn’t have official clearance to fly between Singapore and Surabaya daily, as it was doing. (Actually, a subsequent audit by local aviation authorities found that AirAsia wasn’t the only offender in this area, resulting in several airlines needing to cancel or reschedule flights while permission was obtained).

Safety and Air Traffic

Mr Bialik also includes the above graph which shows quite clearly how Indonesia’s new ICAO safety rating is the worst of any country with more than 10 million passengers annually.

But Mr Bialik does concede Indonesia’s low score does not mean all the country’s airlines are unsafe. He quotes Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, who says:

One of the frustrations is, you can be an airline operating to the best international standards, but you may be registered in a country that has relatively poor performance in regulatory oversight.

In other words, the safety of e.g. Garuda Indonesia is no worse, even if its safety rating on has decreased from 5 stars to 3 stars.

You can check the new safety ratings of Indonesian airlines here.

One Comment on “Indonesia Fails Air Safety Audit”

  1. Chris says:

    UPDATE: 10 September 2015

    The new Transport Minister, Ignasius Jonan, is confident Indonesia’s score for the 2015 audit will be much better. He has predicted the score will be 81.91, subject to final review and auditing by ICAO in late September or early October. (The minimum score to be declared “safe” by ICAO is 60).

    He also hopes this higher score will enable more Indonesian airlines to be removed from the EU blacklist and Indonesia the country to enter the US Federal Aviation Authority’s Category 1, allowing e.g. Garuda Indonesia to fly to the US.


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