The Jakarta Post
One of four flights scheduled to arrive on Friday morning in Jambi city’s Sultan Thaha Airport was forced to abort the landing after visibility dropped as a result of haze from forest fires.
The plane operated by national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia was forced to return to Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin Airport in Palembang, South Sumatra, as visibility at the airport had decreased to 800 meters, said Radiyan Prabowo, the assistant manager terminal and landslide services at Sultan Thaha Airport.
Garuda flight TA7114 was scheduled to land at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, he said.
““The visibility was not in line with the operating standards of Garuda Indonesia […] but the three other flights landed,” Radiyan said on Friday.
Radiyan said visibility in the airport returned to normal after 10:00 a.m. “Flights have since been operating as usual.”
The visibility considered safe for landings should be around 1,500 to 2,000 meters, he said, adding that airlines flying to Jambi city should remain vigilant about haze.
Jambi city and nearby areas have been engulfed by thick haze from forest fires in the province over the past three days.
Haze usually occurs in the morning and eases briefly before returning in the afternoon until the evening, causing a drastic drop in visibility from 5,000 meters to only 800 meters, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Sultan Thaha.
Visibility was worse in areas affected by peatland fires, including in Muarojambi, Tanjungjabung Barat and Tanjungjabung Timur regencies, where visibility has decreased to under 500 meters.
“We have to be extra careful when driving before 10:00 a.m.,” said Muslim, a Jambi city resident and a truck driver who usually transports goods across the regencies.
The local administration has yet to issue warnings over the haze and the disruption of visibility, however, residents of the city have started wearing masks to protect their respiratory systems.
Meanwhile, Jambi Police have named nine people suspects for starting forest and land fires in regencies across the province, police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Kuswahyudi Tresnadi said. (afr)