More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Manggarai sluice gate on alert for flooding


The Jakarta Post
, Thu, 04/09/2009 12:25 PM

JAKARTA: The South Jakarta Manggarai sluice gate was on level III alert, the third highest alert level, on Wednesday, as the water level in the Ciliwung river rose due to spillover from upstream Bogor, West Java.

"The Manggarai waterway water level is currently 825 centimeters," Manggarai sluice gate officer Ibnu told Antara news agency.

The water level was 810 centimeters at 8 a.m., 60 centimeters above the normal limits, he said.

Separately, officials at the Katulampa sluice gate in Bogor said the water level was 60 centimeters, 20 centimeters below the alert threshold, at the dam, which is a vital barrier to flooding in Jakarta.

It generally takes between 10 and 11 hours for water from Katulampa to reach the Manggarai sluice gate, the main barometer for flooding in Jakarta. -JP

Airlines Add Thousands of Seats during Long Weekend

Thursday, 09 April, 2009 | 16:06 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Eight airlines added 56,468 seats to anticipate increasing passengers during the holidays on voting day and Easter. The additional seats are for 26 domestic flight routes.

“The eight airlines include Garuda Indonesia, Wings Air, Lion Air, Sriwijaya, Batavia Air, Riau Airlines, Kalstar, and Trigana,” Director for air transportation at the Transportation Department, Tri S Sunoko told Tempo, Wednesday (8/4).

The Transportation Department said the routes with more passengers than usual are Surabaya-Balikpapan (6,988 seats), Jakarta-Palembang (5840 seats), Jakarta-Denpasar (4,844 seats), Banjarmasin-Surabaya (4,640 seats), Jakarta-Balikpapan (4,620 seats), Surabaya-Makassar (3,710 seats), and Surabaya-Denpasar (3,300 seats).

The department’s head of Domestic Transportation, Hemi Pamurahardjo, said airlines should maintain good service as problems related to service matters are usually found during long holidays.

WAHYUDIN FAHMI

Vintage bicycles

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 04/08/2009 11:44 AM


Members of Denpasar-based Vintage Bicycles Association (PST) display their beloved bicycles during their weekly gathering. The association now has 35 members. JP/Wasti Atmodjo


Small plane crashes in Papua; 4 killed


The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jayapura | Thu, 04/09/2009 8:08 AM

A small plane crashed into a hillside in Indonesia's easternmost Papua province Thursday, killing all four people on board, police said.

The Avia Star plane was transporting cargo from the provincial capital, Jayapura, to the nearby district of Wamena when it went down, said Maj. Gen. Bagus Ekodanto, the local police chief.

The bodies of the pilot, co-pilot and two other crew members were pulled from the smoldering wreckage, he said.

It's not clear what caused the accident, but a witness told the Antara news agency the plane was seen circling around the hill before tumbling from the sky.

Smoke billowed from the scene.

There are few roads in Papua, which occupies the western half of New Guinea, and air travel is a common form of transport.

It is considered one of the world's most dangerous places to fly. Many areas are mountainous and prone to dangerously low clouds and sudden weather changes.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Boeing customer Lion Air gets financing for 30 jets


Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air, which has ordered a whopping 162 of Boeing's newest 737-900ERs, has won approval for more than $1 billion in financing support from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, allaying concerns that it would not find sufficient financing.

Dominic Gates, Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air, which has a whopping 162 of Boeing's newest 737-900ERs on order, has won approval for more than $1 billion in loan support from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, allaying concerns that it would not find sufficient financing.

Ex-Im Bank's board approved $238 million in financing and made a nonbinding preliminary commitment of a further $841 million if Lion Air formally requests it. The bank said the combined amount will support the deliveries of 30 of the 737-900ERs from Boeing.

Bank spokeswoman Linda Formella said the money could be provided either as a loan guarantee or as a direct loan, depending on Lion Air's requirements.

"Ex-Im Bank welcomes this opportunity to support the export of Boeing aircraft to Lion Air," said Ex-Im vice president of transportation, Robert Morin.

Carol Sexton, Southeast Asia managing director of Boeing Capital, the company's financing unit, said in a statement that the financing would support jobs at Boeing in Washington state, and at engine-maker CFM International in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as at hundreds of suppliers to both.

Last month at a conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Morin said the Ex-Im Bank sees the global credit crunch creating a big shortfall in airplane financing this year. He said the Bank will accordingly increse its financing in the sector, up from the $4-5 billion typical in recent years to around $8-9 billion in 2009.

The bank's explicit purpose is to support jobs in the U.S. by offering export financing.

"This is game day for the Ex-Im Bank," Morin said in Phoenix.

Lion Air's unfilled Boeing orders are worth more than $13 billion at list prices. Market data from aircraft valuation firm Avitas pegs the true value of those jets, after standard discounts, at more than $8 billion.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com


Exodus

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 04/07/2009 11:16 AM

Would-be travelers line up for train tickets at Gambir Station in Central Jakarta on Monday. Many Jakartans are heading to their hometowns and villages to vote during the legislative elections that fall on Thursday. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

US provides over $1b for RI airline upgrades


Ika Krismantari,
THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Tue, 04/07/2009 11:01 AM

The United States Export-Import Bank approved more than US$1 billion in financing for Indonesian airlines to improve passenger fleets, generate business and create jobs in Indonesia and throughout the region.

In a press statement in Jakarta on Monday, the US Embassy said the financing was made possible after the ratification and implementation of the Cape Town Treaty, which allows Indonesian airlines to save millions of dollars in financing costs.

“This financing allows Indonesian-registered companies to gain very competitive rates and favorable credit similar to the most advanced countries in the world,” said US Ambassador Cameron R. Hume.

“This action by the US is a vote of confidence for the improvement of aviation regulation and the general business environment in Indonesia,” said Henry Bakti, the Indonesian Transportation Ministry’s director general for air transportation.

The financing will allow Lion Air to access $238 million to purchase new Boeing 737-900ER planes and provide preliminary authorization for another $841 million, for a total of 30 new passenger jets.

Last month, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia announced the bank’s authorized joint financing of $346 million for increasing its’ fleet.

“We are delighted to offer Lion Air the reduced exposure fee available under this treaty, which reduces the legal risks associated with cross-border, asset-backed aircraft financing and leases,” said Robert Morin, Export-Import Bank vice president of transportation.

The loan facility is expected to boost not only aviation safety but also the country’s image, which has been marred by several air transportation accidents.

Since 2007, the European Commission has banned all Indonesian airliners from flying to EC territory in response to the country’s poor safety record. The government has since tried to improve the airline regulatory system and safety in the hope the EC will revoke the ban. EC representatives have promised to lift the ban, acknowledging the progress Indonesia has made. However, Indonesia will still need to comply with the remaining 10 of 60 flight safety requirements set out by the EC before the ban can be lifted.

At least six incidents of aircrafts skidding off the runaway occurred during the first quarter of this year.

While there were no fatalities, these accidents could signal the government’s sluggish effort to revise safety standards despite EC inspections to ensure the ban could be lifted.

Bad weather likely cause of crash



Yuli Tri Suwarni, THE JAKARTA POST, BANDUNG | Tue, 04/07/2009 8:40 AM


Litany of accidents: An aircraft hangar at Bandung’s Husein Sastranegara Air Force Base is seen with damage to its roof, after being hit Monday by a Fokker airplane that went on to crash into the tarmac amid heavy rain, killing all 24 Air Force personnel on board. JP/Yuli Tri Suwarni

The Air Force has blamed bad weather as the likely cause of Monday's deadly plane crash into a hangar when trying to land at an air base in Bandung during heavy rain.

The Fokker F-27 medium transport plane with tail number A-2703 had just returned from parachuting training session when the accident took place at about 1 p.m. at Husein Sastranegara Air Force Base.

The plane's six crew and 18 soldiers from the Air Force's Special Forces (Paskhas) were killed in the accident.

Monday's crash occurred just days before the Air Force celebrates its 63rd anniversary on Thursday.

Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandrio said bad weather was the likely cause of the accident, with weather conditions at the time recorded as “TS RA”, or thunder, storm and rain.

Twenty-knot crosswinds were also recorded blowing from north to south when the airplane was trying to land coming from east to west.

Horizontal visibility from the tower was only 2 kilometers, with cumulus nimbus cloud formations hanging at an elevation of 1,500 meters.

“Complying with procedures, as the pilot could not see the runway, he was requesting a go-round,” Subandrio said at a press conference at the Air Force base.

“Tower officials did not see the airplane either when suddenly they saw smoke in the hangar.

“So the preliminary conclusion is [the accident occurred] because of bad weather.”

The plane, from the 2nd squadron based at Halim Perdanakusumah Air Force Base in Jakarta, crashed into the aircraft service hangar of state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI).

The base compound is shared with PT DI and a civilian airport.

The plane exploded into a giant fireball upon impact, leaving rescue workers with the difficult task of identifying the victims. One rescue worker said they could only find body parts scattered around the accident site.

There were five planes being serviced at the time in the hangar. A Deraya Air Service NC-212-200 suffered a smashed wing, while a Batavia Air Boeing 737-300 suffered minor damage.

Three other aircraft — an Adam Air Boeing 737-300, a CN-235 to be delivered to France and a Robinson light helicopter — were not damaged.

The Air Force has set up an internal investigation team without the involvement of the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).

Subandrio stressed that the F-27, built in 1976, had been certified airworthy and in good condition.

“The crew would not have flown the plane had it been not airworthy,” he said.

Prior to the accident, the Air Force operated seven F-27s.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Djoko Santoso to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the incident.

Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said Yudhoyono had also ordered the military chief to check the airworthiness of all the Air Force’s aircraft.

“The military chief reported the incident to the President shortly after it occurred” Andi said in a press statement.

“An interim report says it was caused by the weather factor.

“President Yudhoyono expresses his deepest condolences to the families of Air Force officers and members who died in the accident,” he added.

The plane was manned by pilot Capt. I Gede Agustirta Santosa and co-pilot First Lt. Yudo Pramono. Subandrio confirmed Yudo was the son of Iskandar Muda Military Commander Maj. Gen. Soenarko.

Related Article

Military chief says Fokker 27 was cleared to fly


Monday, April 6, 2009

Pilot sentenced to 2 years for crash


The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Yogyakarta | Mon, 04/06/2009 3:42 PM

Yogyakarta's Sleman District Court has sentenced pilot Capt. Marwoto Komar to two years in prison for crasing a jetliner in 2007, killing 21 people.

Komar was approaching the Yogyakarta runway at almost double the normal speed when his Garuda Boeing 737-400 careered into a rice paddy and burst into flames.

He is accused of disregarding repeated alerts indicating it was not safe to land - including at least one by his co-pilot urging him to circle around again.

"His negligence caused loss of life," presiding judge Sri Andini told the packed Sleman District Court as he handed down his verdict.

Komar - who together with the co-pilot and 117 others survived the crash - blamed mechanical problems and said he would appeal.

Among the dead and injured were Australian diplomats, police, military personnel and journalists who were following a visit by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to the central Javan city.

Indonesia has had a string of deadly plane crashes since 2005. Experts say poor maintenance, rule-bending and a shortage of properly trained pilots may contribute to the country's poor aviation safety.


24 dead in Bandung military plane crash

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Bandung | Mon, 04/06/2009 6:48 PM


Air Force soldiers and families pay respect during the funeral of a number of victims of a military plane crash at Kalibata Heroes’ Cemetery in South Jakarta on Tuesday. The Air Force are investigating the cause of the incident which killed six crew and 18 Special Forces soldiers after the Fokker F-27 crashed into a hangar when trying to land at Husein Sastranegara Air Base on Monday. JP/J. Adiguna

During heavy rains on Monday a military plane carrying 24 people crashed into an airport hangar and burst into flames, killing everyone on board, an air force spokesman said.

Fire trucks and ambulances rushed to the scene, pulling bodies from the debris. Emergency workers carried charred parts of the downed Fokker 27 from the smoking hangar.

Air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo said none of the 24 aboard the aging turboprop -- which was filled with trainees returning from a parachuting exercise -- survived. There were no casualties on the ground, he added.

It was not clear what caused the crash, which occurred as the pilot was trying to land during a heavy storm just outside the city of Bandung. Witnesses told Antara state news agency that the plane appeared to be shaking before diving to the ground.

"There was a thundering sound," said Budi Wuraskito, director of operations at the airport.

"The plane blew apart inside the hangar, which had several airplanes and helicopters inside."

Six crew, an instructor and 17 special forces trainees had been onboard the 32-year-old aircraft, Sulistyo said.

The country's air force has long complained of being underfunded and handicapped by a recently lifted US ban on weapons sales. It has suffered a series of accidents, including a Casa 212 plane that crashed during an aerial surveillance mission last year, killing 18 people.

A series of commercial airlines crashes in recent years has killed more than 120 people in Indonesia.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cheap car, anyone?

The Jakarta Post | Sat, 04/04/2009 12:45 PM


A prototype of a microcar developed by teachers at Diponegoro University is seen in Semarang, Central Java, on Friday. The lecturers have been trying to create cars fitted with Chinese-made motorcycle engines. With engine capacities of 150 cc and 200 cc, the four-passenger car is projected to cost about Rp 30 million (US$2,700). JP/SUHERDJOKO

EU Ban Cost Garuda About $9m Annually


The Jakarta Globe, Putri Prameshwari & Janeman Latul, April 3, 2009

State-owned carrier PT Garuda Indonesia has lost potential sales of about $9 million annually as a result of the European Union’s blanket ban on Indonesian airlines since July 2007, a senior company official said on Friday.

“We lost about 50 percent of our sales [to European passengers], worth between $750,000 and $1.5 million a month since July 2007,” Emirsyah Satar, Garuda president director, said late on Friday. “However, this potential loss in sales is actually smaller compared to our total sales of around $1.8 billion in 2008 alone. The main problem for us is the bad image about our airline.”

Emir also said that Garuda currently has no code-share agreement with European-based airlines. But even if there was one, the ban would have forced the airlines to terminate their cooperation with flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.

In July 2007, EU imposed a blanket ban on all Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe. The ban, a source of embarrassment to the government, was based on 69 recommendations — including the improvement of oversight — from the International Civil Aviation Organization’s audit of local airlines in 2004-07.

Garuda has repeatedly asked the EU audit team what it needed to do to improve its safety performance, including attending the hearing with the EU aviation council in Brussel last year, along with Mandala Airlines and Airfast, to ask for an exemption. The council, however, refused to grant the request.

“We have already asked EU auditors what else can be done to lift the ban, but they say that it is a regulatory problem,” Emirsyah said.

However, Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal blamed differing standards of safety regulation as the main reason why the EU decided to delay reviewing Garuda’s security measures until June, despite the fact that it has repeatedly passed international safety audits by the International Air Transport Association. EU was expected to review Garuda Indonesia’s security measures in April.

“There is no guarantee that the European Union would lift its blanket ban on Indonesian airlines. The EU has its own standard in assessing our aircraft,” Jusman said.

He added that there should be a single international safety standard for air transportation to avoid overlapping of regulations between international aviation organizations.

A statement released by IATA on Wednesday said that Garuda Indonesia, the only IATA member from Indonesia, was listed on the IATA Operational Safety Audit registry. Some 230 airlines from around the world are members of IATA, which conducts a safety audit for all of its members once every two years.

Herry Bhakti, director general of civil aviation at the Transportation Ministry, said that as of March, Indonesia had fulfilled 90 percent of ICAO’s 69 recommendations. However, in their last meeting, the EU had not decided to lift the ban, and delayed it for another three months instead.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

One of a kind

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 04/02/2009 11:04 AM



A man rides a modified motorcycle Wednesday near the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta. The bike has been customized to accomodate a wheelchair at the back. (JP/J. Adiguna)


City, police discipline motorcyclists, public buses

Triwik Kurniasari, The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Thu, 04/02/2009 10:57 AM

The city police have ruled all motorcycles and public transportation vehicles must use the left lane or the slow lane of the capital’s main roads, in a bid to reduce traffic accidents and ease the abysmal congestion.

Traffic signs and road markers have been installed along several of the city’s busier roads, including Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin in Central Jakarta, Jl. Matraman, Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan and Jl. D.I. Panjaitan in East Jakarta, Jl. S. Parman in West Jakarta, Jl. Yos Sudarso in North Jakarta and Jl. Ciputat Raya in South Jakarta.

“We decided to put traffic signs on the roads because traffic jams in these areas are really bad,” city traffic police chief Sr. Comr. Chondro Kirono told reporters Wednesday.

“We want to improve road users’ discipline in abiding by traffic regulations to ease the congestion.”

Chaotic traffic has long been a problem in the capital, with more than 6.7 million motorcycles packing the capital’s streets everyday.

Traffic police will also require motorcyclists to use standard helmets that fully protect their heads. Many riders currently use substandard helmets.

Police said motorcyclists were less disciplined than car drivers. In 2008, police recorded 5,898 accidents involving motorcycles, with 1,169 fatalities, 2,597 severe injuries and 4,317 minor injuries.

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Wahyono said that last year police ticketed 272,495 motorcyclists.

Wahyono also blamed public transportation drivers for the majority of traffic accidents.

“Last year, we issued 111,396 tickets to public transportation drivers.”

Police also recorded 2,076 accidents involving these drivers.

Fathoni, a resident of Plumpang in North Jakarta, welcomed the discipline campaign.

“For me, it’s not a big deal if I have to ride in the slow lane,” he said.

“I’ve been trying to do that all along, after I was stopped and ticketed a few months ago by traffic police for riding in the fast lane.”

He added he would swap his substandard helmet for a proper one.

“I do have a standard helmet at home, but I prefer to use this smaller one for practical reasons,” he said.

Another motorcyclist, Mursid, objected.

“Why should they put us in the same lane as buses? [Public transportation drivers] often drive carelessly. They drop and pick passengers anywhere they please. It’s very annoying.”

The slow lane for motorcycles is not a new concept, having long been in force on main thoroughfares like Jl. Sudirman. But in practice, many motorcyclists still ride in the fast lane and go unpunished.

City official Sutanto Soehodho said the ruling would be effective only if passengers also took part in the drive.

“Most buses pick up and drop off passengers in the middle of the street because the passengers want them to,” he said.

“The [passengers] should also be more disciplined by getting on and off at bus stops. It’s for their own safety and comfort.”


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

AirAsia to add new routes to Singapore network

Peanuts Online, Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Banking on the success of its 4 new routes between Indonesia and Singapore, AirAsia is now looking at adding more routes to the island-city in 2009, said its Group CEO Tony Fernandes.

Inaugural flights between Singapore and Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Bali took off on 24-Mar-09, recording forward bookings of 80,000 so far. AirAsia is the only airline flying the Singapore-Bandung route and is the first low-fare airline to service the Singapore-Yogyakarta sector.

AirAsia’s first route between Indonesia and Singapore was from Pekanbaru, which commenced in August last year.

Apart from Indonesia, AirAsia currently flies between Singapore and the Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur (7 daily flights), Kuching (1) and Kota Kinabalu (1), as well as Bangkok (4) and Phuket (1) in Thailand. These bring AirAsia’s total number of weekly flights to and from Singapore to 140.

Fernandes said, “Singapore is very special to AirAsia and we consider it a virtual hub. AirAsia’s latest Indonesia-Singapore link forms the final piece of our network jigsaw puzzle as it resembles the importance of the AirAsia network, making it the most powerful in Asia. Currently, we have a combined total of 10 routes connecting Singapore and we are looking at introducing at least 3 more new routes this year. Based on our projections, we will carry a total of 2 million guests to and from Singapore in 2009.”

AirAsia is considering a number of cities to be linked to Singapore and among the destinations in the pipeline are Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia, as well as Medan and Surabaya in Indonesia. AirAsia will also increase the frequencies of some of the existing routes to Singapore this year.

Fernandes said, “Given the current economic climate, this positive link between these new services is indeed such an encouraging response. Greater connection to both countries would not only boost economic growth by providing better access to markets but also enhance links within travel, trade and tourism. It is also a perfect match as both hubs, Singapore and Indonesia are able to feed traffic to the cities, connect to other points serviced by AirAsia’s extensive routes and international destinations serviced by AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X via the Kuala Lumpur hub. This initiative will also help the pace of integration between Indonesia and Singapore in particular, and bridge ASEAN closer by enabling intra-Asean travel with AirAsia’s connectivity and route network via our strategic hubs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.”

Meanwhile, CEO of Indonesia AirAsia, Mr. Dharmadi commented: “These new routes signify our effort in realizing the open skies policy. Despite the economic uncertainties, Indonesia still recorded the largest number of tourist arrivals to Singapore among Asean countries. This good indication of strong growth will definitely instill integration between Indonesia and Singapore, and to enable intra-Asean travel with AirAsia’s connectivity and route network via our strategic hubs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.”

KLM upbeat on Indonesian market, brings in new aircraft

Novan Iman Santosa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 04/01/2009 2:56 PM

KLM, the Royal Dutch Airline is upbeat about the Indonesian passenger market, describing it as a strong one, despite the current global economic downturn.

"Indonesia is withstanding the global crisis quite well while Singapore, Australia and New Zealand are hit much harder," Air France KLM general manager for the region (comprising Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand), Paul Rombeek, told reporters Monday.

"However, we do see worldwide that all economies are in trouble."

Rombeek, appointed in February, quoted IATA suggesting airlines worldwide might suffer losses of up to US$4.6 billion this year.

Meanwhile, Air France KLM country manager Axel Theo Colen said the airline was experiencing a fall of 10 to 20 percent in bookings.

Colen emphasized however that Indonesia reached its budgeted target for the year ending March 31.

"This means that there was growth in Indonesia compared to the 2007/2009 fiscal year," he said.

"Indonesia has big potential despite negative trends in bookings."

Colen, however, declined to reveal any load factor figures from Jakarta saying this was confidential.

KLM serves daily the Jakarta-Amsterdam route via Kuala Lumpur.

Both Rombeek and Colen were speaking before a ceremony to welcome the new Boeing 777 at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten.

Previously the route was served by the 428-seat Boeing 747-400 aircraft which flew the route four times a week. The 280-seat 747-400 Combi (combined with freight) flew the other three times a week.

KLM currently has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet, with two more expected later this year.

The airline also has two Boeing 777-300s with two more expected to arrive in May and August.

The 200 series has 327 seats while the 300 series has 425 seats. Both series have 35 business class seats while the rest are economy seats.

The 300 series will fly every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday with the 200 series flying on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

The use of the Boeing 777 provides an additional 150 seats per week or an increase of 6 percent.

"Not only is the new airplane a reward for the route for good performance but it also offers a better product to passengers," Colen said.

With better technological advances Colen said the Boeing 777 burned less fuel than the 747.

A round trip with a 747 needs 300 tons of fuel while the 777 only needs some 230 tons," he said.