Will your Indonesian domestic flight arrive on time? The public finally gets some answers, sort of.
Earlier this week, the Indonesian Department of Transport published statistics about the punctuality or “OTP” (on-time performance) of the six major Indonesian airlines between January and April 2011. Here are the results:
Do you want to view the latest statistics about flight delays and cancellations? Please click here. It is regularly updated as soon as the results become available.
Both Garuda Indonesia/Citilink and Lion Air/Wings Air are counted together as they share the same management.
Despite the country being famous for its jam karet (“rubbery time”) and a relaxed attitude towards timeliness, Indonesia’s Department of Transport has a minimum standard OTP of 70%, signified above by a red line. The Department is also considering requiring airlines to pay monetary compensation for flight delays.
Lion Air and Batavia Air have therefore received a failing grade, and an official warning from Air Transport Director-General Herry Bakti Gumay (right). He recommended these two airlines improve their OTP to a minimum of 80%.
However, what the Department of Transport has not published as widely is its methodology. How many flights did it measure? At how many airports? It seems unlikely that Indonesian government officials were comparing flight schedules and actual departure/arrivals times continuously at every airport for four months, particularly when smaller airlines have not even received a score.
It also remains unclear how late/delayed a flight was before it counted as “not on time”, if they measured the boarding/departure/arrival time, and whether “re-timed” departures (i.e. airlines rescheduling the flight’s departure time at the last minute, usually later – see right) and flight cancellations affected the statistics.
Finally, it is not known if and how much the following factors impacted Indonesian airlines’ on-time performance:
– Overloaded airports: in 2010, Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport handled 44 million passengers, when it’s only designed for a maximum capacity of 22 million.
– Natural disasters: Volcanic eruptions at Mt Merapi near Yogyakarta (right) and Mt Bromo near Malang saw many flights diverted or cancelled.
– Inclement weather: Tropical storms in the wet season (November-April) often play havoc with flight schedules, causing flights to be delayed or diverted, and occasionally airport closures due to flooded runways (right).
Some have already questioned the accuracy of the results, viewing with suspicion e.g. an Indonesian government department giving the top two places to Indonesian government-owned airlines.
Regardless of the quality of the results, a more pertinent question for visitors (especially when transiting and connecting to an international flight) is this: How to best avoid delays and problems?
(i) Fly with time to spare
Time your arrival to be 1-2 hours earlier than you need to be there. For routes with regular flights, choose a flight that is earlier than you need, so that you have something to fall back on if necessary. For more remote locations where flights are less frequent, consider flying a day earlier.
(ii) Fly in the morning
Tropical storms in the wet season tend to occur in early to mid-afternoon. Delays caused by overloaded airports tend to accumulate over the day, reaching its peak in the late afternoon.
Some of the larger Indonesian airport websites e.g. Jakarta, Denpasar, Surabaya, now have their flight status information available online. Check whether the flight/s you are considering taking departed on time that day.
Perhaps you have some local knowledge you would like to share. Here are some conversation starters, to get things rolling:
1. Are the results of the on-time performance survey similar or different to your experiences flying Indonesian domestic airlines?
2. This article gives some tips for travellers wishing to avoid delays and cancellations. What tips do you have for other travellers?
3. Do you think the Indonesian Department of Transport’s on-time performance pass mark of 70% is too low, too high or just right?
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