Adam Air denies cost-cutting

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Adam Air denied on Monday accusations that it had neglected passengers and aircraft safety for financial reasons.

""I have never done any economizing or cost cutting in our maintenance sector. Maintenance takes up 40 percent of our total operational costs,"" airline president Adam Adhitya Suherman said during a hearing at the House of Representatives.

He added that the airline's reputation was highly linked with safety.

Critics have alleged that senior management ordered Adam Air pilots to fly in all weather and regardless of aircraft conditions.

Adam said that he had not seen any documents written by his mother, Adam Air co-founder Sandra Ang, ordering pilots to fly even if there were problems, and added that he apologized if it had happened.

""I haven't seen any of the letters instructing our pilots to keep flying. We know what the consequences are if we force any of our pilots to fly any of our failing aircraft. I always hold on to the passengers' trust to use our service,"" Adam said.

""What we have done is just prohibit our pilots to fly,"" Adam said, adding that the management of Adam Air had canceled flights several times during bad weather.

""In the past, Adam Air had canceled risky flights to Jambi, Pontianak and Bengkulu because of the permeating haze there.""

He added that Adam Air had never banned its pilots from joining unions.

Adam also denied that House Speaker Agung Laksono was still involved in the company.

""Adam Air is a family company. Mr Agung Laksono, who is no longer with us, was our commissioner from Nov. 21, 2003. This was before he became the speaker,"" he said.

In response to Adam's defense, members of House Commission V overseeing transportation have decided to establish an internal team to investigate the fate of Adam Air flight KI 574 and the sinking of the Senopati Nusantara ferry.

Commission V head Akhmad Muqowam said that several recent land, sea and air accidents meant that transportation services in the country needed to be overhauled.

Legislator Azwar Anas said that despite the lengthy explanation from Adam Air's management, there were several things that remained a mystery.

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