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Jakarta Post

PT Dirgantara Indonesia mourns industry pioneer Habibie

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Thu, September 12, 2019   /   06:16 pm
PT Dirgantara Indonesia mourns industry pioneer Habibie In a busy assembly hangar of PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) stands a new light transport airplane. (JP/Marguerite Afra Sapiie)

The death of former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie is a profound loss for Indonesia's aerospace industry, state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia president director Elfien Guntoro has said. 

Habibie, who obtained a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Germany's RWTH Aachen University, served as the company's first chief executive from 1976 to 1985, when it was still called PT Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara (IPTN).

"Besides founding the company, he was also an industry pioneer, starting with the BPPT [Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology] and LIPNUR [Nurtanio Aviation Industry Agency]," Elfien said at the Dirgantara Indonesia office in Bandung, West Java, on Wednesday. 

"He developed a production manufacturing plan that took us from assembling aircraft to designing our own."

Elfien said that Habibie's legacy was clearly apparent in the aircraft that were currently being produced by the company, such as its flagship NC212i plane. 

"That 24-person capacity plane is one of his legacies," he said. 

The CN235 aircraft, jointly produced by Dirgantara and Spanish aircraft manufacturer Casa, was another product of Habibie's leadership.

The last aircraft model of Habibie's tenure was the N250, which had its certification stalled by the monetary crisis that struck the country in the late 1990s. 

Elfien said that that Dirgantara wanted to continue Habibie's legacy by finishing the certification of its latest model, the 19-person capacity N219, by the end of this year. 

"So we can start to produce it," he said. (kmt)