EU to audit Indonesian
airlines with focus on
safety, procedures

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A team from the European Union (EU) is in town this week to audit three Indonesian airlines and determine the fate of the air travel ban for Indonesian airlines in European airspace.

The team, headed by Grandini, is scheduled to be in Indonesia from Monday to Friday to verify all airline procedures, operations and monitoring process conducted by the head of air transportation.

The three airlines chosen to be audited included Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines and charter company Prime Air, which once had contracts with the European community.

""We will be open and will provide any information requested by the audit team,"" PT. Garuda Indonesia spokesman Pujobroto told Detik.com.

Pujobroto was speaking after a closed meeting to discuss the technicalities of the audit process with Garuda Indonesia and the Transportation Ministry at the ministry's office in Central Jakarta.

Pujobroto said Garuda would prepare information on airplane operational details, security and maintenance procedures.

The EU prohibited all Indonesian air carriers from entering European countries on July 6, although there were no Indonesian airlines flying to European countries at the time.

Garuda was planning to resume flights to the Netherlands just before the ban.

The travel ban has caused several European tourists to cancel travel to Indonesia.

The prohibition requires tourism agencies to advise their customers Indonesian airlines are unsafe, but significant losses have not been reported.

A meeting attended by EU ambassador Jean Breteche and officials from Indonesia's air transportation body in July decided an audit team would be sent to Indonesia in November -- giving the republic three months to make all the necessary improvements.

Breteche said the EU needed proof of Indonesia's ""action plan, commitment and real measures"" to increase its safety standards.

The Saudi Arabian General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA) said it planned to join the EU in banning Indonesian airlines from flying to the country, but after sending a team of technical delegates to Indonesia in August, Garuda was cleared to enter the Middle East kingdom.

Several local major airlines, including Garuda, have attempted to highlight their improvements by obtaining official certification through an operational safety audit from the International Air Transport Association. (lva)

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