Citilink, the low-cost subsidiary of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, said Wednesday it had put one of its pilots under investigation after reports of an on-duty pilot allegedly under the influence of alcohol went viral online.
The incident occurred earlier in the day as a Citilink flight prepared to depart from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, to Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. The flight was scheduled to take off at 5:15 a.m.
According to the Transportation Ministry’s report, passengers were initially baffled by an unclear announcement from the pilot, identified as Capt. Tekad Purna, raising suspicion that he was drunk.
Many passengers decided to disembark from the plane soon after, with nine of them deciding to cancel their flights.
"We want to apologize for the delay and the discomfort of the passengers of Citilink Indonesia QG 800 on Dec. 28," Citilink vice president of corporate communications Benny S. Butarbutar said in a statement.
(Read also: Lion Air crew members arrested for drug consumption)
Citilink stated that the pilot’s initial drug and alcohol test came up negative, but said the pilot would undergo further medical checks.
After the incident, Citilink decided to replace the pilot and the flight eventually departed an hour behind schedule with 154 passengers on board.
Transportation Ministry director general of air transportation Suprasetyo said in a separate official statement that the ministry had asked Citilink to make sure that the pilot underwent a medical check immediately. (hwa)