The Jakarta Post
Indonesia has allowed an Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane to leave Batam in Riau Islands for Singapore after the plane was forced to land on Monday on suspicion of violating Indonesian airspace.
Hang Nadim Airport director Suwarso said that the decision was issued on Wednesday night following a meeting between representatives from the airport, the Air Force, state-owned air navigation firm AirNav's Batam office, the customs and immigration office, as well as those from the Ethiopian government.
“Flight clearance has been issued and the plane has just left [the country],” Suwarso said on Thursday. “[But] officials in Jakarta will discuss further penalty for the airlines.”
The aircraft left Batam on Thursday noon, according to authorities.
Three Indonesian Air Force F-16 fighter planes from Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force Base in Pekanbaru, Riau, intercepted and forced the plane to land at Hang Nadim international airport in Batam on Monday, after the plane entered Indonesian airspace without permission.
The airplane, which reportedly was carrying Rolls Royce aircraft engines and accessories to be flown to Hong Kong as its final destination, had not been in contact with the flight information region (FIR) Indonesia, but had communicated with FIR Singapore.
The case also highlights Indonesia's ongoing efforts to take over the management of airspace above Riau and Riau Islands provinces from Singapore — which have continued to be fruitless to date.
But, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who is tasked with completing the FIR takeover from Singapore, has earlier said that the forcing down of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft to land in Batam in fact showed that Indonesia had started to gain control in the region. (ipa)