JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) — Followed the Lion Air JT-610 PK-LQP crash on Oct. 29, 2018, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi reshuffled its officials in Air Transportation Directorate General on Monday (12/11).
Polana B. Pramesti, previously ministry’s Airport Director, was inaugurated as the new Air Transportation Director General. Her career in the field is considered proven, as she was also had held a position as PT Angkasa Pura I Technical Director.
Meanwhile, Pramintohadi Sukarno, the former Acting Air Transportion Director General, now switched base to Airport Director.
Moreover, Sumadi also assigned Nur Isnin Istiartono as Air Transportation Directorate General Secretary and Dadun Kohar as Flight Safety Director.
After Lion Air crash, Transportation Ministry had dismissed Lion Air Technical Director. Then, Director Maintenance and Engineering, Quality Control Manager, Flight Maintenance Manager, and Release Manager followed a day later. Not only being dismissed, their aircraft engineer licenses were also frozen.
Sumadi said that the dismissal aims to focus on Lion Air flightworthy investigation. Lion Air JT-610 PK-LPQ, using Boeing 737 Max 8, fell in Karawang waters, West Java, 13 minutes after take off. The plane carried 181 passengers and 8 crews on board.
Merpati Airlines Ready to Fly Again
While one fell, one ready to fly again. PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines—the state-owned enterprise which has been off for 4 years—planned to fly again in Indonesian air next year, as it has received 6.4 trillion funding commitment from Intra Asia Corpora.
Intra Corpora is an affiliated company of Asuransi Intra Asia and PT Cipendawa that was once listed in Indonesia Stock Exchange.
President Director of Merpati, Asep Ekanugraha said, the funding will be used for company’s debt restructurization and financial governance rearrangement.
“Our partner has agreed to disburse funding for the return of Merpati’s operational. We have done signing,” said Ekanugraha.
The funding will be disbursed gradually in two years period. The capital will be used to get airplanes, arrange flight route permits, and other operational investments. But, the disbursement will wait for Surabaya State Court decision on Wednesday (14/11), whether Merpati can continue its operation with homologation or to be declared bankruptcy.
According to Ekanugraha, the judges already have voting results of around 7,000 lenders including Finance Ministry, state-Owned Enterprises Ministry, and PT Bank Mandiri Tbk (IDX: BMRI). Until now, he added, Finance Ministry asked Merpati to stop operating. But other lenders, mostly wanted the opposite.
If flying again, Merpati will target Indonesia’s 10 tourism destinations. Besides, newly developed airports is also considered an attractive market.
Merpati planned that for its initial re-operation, the airliners will fly from Biak, Papua province, because it was Merpati’s first base and facility. And state-owned flight carriers wants reinforce its position in eastern Indonesia.
For its re-operation plan, Merpati aims targeting uncovered slots in airlines industry and youngsters market, but not by being Low-Cost Carrier (LCC). Ekanugraha said, cheap flight is one of the reasons Merpati swallowed loss and huge debts.
Recently, Indonesia government only owns one operating airline, PT Garuda Indonesia Tbk (GIAA). Considered as the biggest airline in Indonesia, the company kept recording financial loss.
In third quarter of 2018, Garuda Indonesia booked US$114.08 million loss eventhough it can gain $3.21 billion revenue. Other than Garuda Indonesia, other airlines are private-owned which some of those are LCC.
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