The newly established state-owned Indonesian Flight Navigation Service (PPNPI), also known as AirNav Indonesia, is aiming to develop the performance of air traffic controllers at Bali’s international airport, Ngurah Rai, and other major airports nationwide to ensure better safety for Indonesia’s skies.
“We [AirNav Indonesia] are expected to be fully operating by 2014. By then, we hope that we will already have a PPNPI salary standard. Thus, there will be some increases, especially for those who are currently on the lowest salaries,” president director of PPNPI, Ichwanul Idrus, said on the sidelines of the 52nd annual conference of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA) in Sanur on Wednesday.
The main theme of the conference is “satisfied controller = safe sky”, which emphasizes the urgency of improving the welfare of air traffic controllers in airports across developing countries, like Indonesia, as such people play a significant role in maintaining aviation safety.
Ichwanul acknowledged that currently wages for air traffic controllers in Indonesia varied greatly, as previously air traffic services had been managed by at least three different operators: Angkasa Pura (AP) 1, AP 2 and the working unit of the Transportation Ministry’s directorate general of civil aviation.
Indonesia has a total of 2,358 personnel employed by AP 1 and AP 2, and around 1,600 more officials under the directorate general of civil aviation. Of these, only around 1,200 are air traffic controllers.
Ichwanul said that AirNav Indonesia was currently prioritizing the development of air traffic control systems at major international airports around the archipelago, which included Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta), Bali (Ngurah Rai), Medan (Polonia, which soon will be replaced by Kuala Namu), Surabaya (Juanda) and Makassar (Hasanuddin).
“The development is for both equipment and human resources. For example, we will install control monitors that can monitor 10 flights simultaneously, instead of the current 14 flights, to ease the pressure on control duty and thus improve safety,” said Ichwanul.
Around 100-150 additional personnel would be required to ease the current burden of existing controllers nationwide. At Ngurah Rai airport alone, AirNav Indonesia’s director of personnel and general affairs, Saryono, stated that the number of air traffic controllers would have to be doubled from the current 52 personnel.