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. …

Saturday, May 29, 2010

‘Elevated Roads Won’t Be Enough’ for Jammed Jakarta

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita, May 28, 2010

Gridlock on Jakarta’s inner toll road at Tomang. Critics say the planned new series of elevated roads will only partially solve the horrendous traffic jams as the cars and trucks will still add to the roiling mess when they rejoin the road network back on the ground. (JG Photo/ Afriadi Hikmal)

Even as the city administration plans a grid of new elevated roads across the capital, experts have stressed again that Jakarta’s traffic woes will never be solved unless the number of vehicles hitting the streets every day is limited.

Last week the administration announced it would build elevated roads linking Blok M to Antasari via Fatmawati, in South Jakarta, and Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta to Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta. The first phases of both projects have been budgeted at Rp 1.3 trillion and Rp 800 billion respectively.

Trisakti University urban development analyst Yayat Supriyatna said the elevated roads would only help in theory.

“The traffic will flow smoothly on these new roads once they’re built,” he said. “But when the vehicles rejoin the road network on the ground, we’ll be back to square one,” he said.

The solution was not to build more roads but to restrict the number of vehicles using them.

“The administration can’t stop people buying vehicles, but it can regulate their use,” Yayat said. “It can implement simpler and cheaper ways of reducing traffic than building these elevated roads. It’s just going to take strong policy and law enforcement to ensure it gets done.”

Mass Appeal

Yayat said such schemes included the current three-in-one system, in which each car must have at least three occupants while driving on certain streets during morning and evening rush hour.

The scheme should be extended to the satellite cities around Jakarta to make it more effective, he said, but this would be only one approach.

“The key to getting people to leave their cars at home is to improve the standard of mass transportation,” he added.

Azas Tigor Nainggolan, chairman of the independent City Transportation Council, agreed that adding new roads would only encourage more people to use their cars and keep them from shifting to mass transportation.

He urged the administration to instead get people to make the shift by improving public transportation service standards.

“The administration’s plan to build more roads is inconsistent with its claims of wanting to promote mass transportation,” Azas said.

He also pointed out the danger of aping developed countries by building more elevated roads, saying the quality of construction and maintenance in Indonesia would be questionable at best.

“There’s no justification for spending so much money on something that isn’t guaranteed to help permanently ease the city’s traffic problems,” he said.

Jakarta Deputy Governor Prijanto admitted the city administration was addressing the transportation issue quite late in the game. But he said it would push ahead plans to improve the Transjakarta bus system and map out the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system.

It also would develop policies such as electronic road pricing (ERP) to restrict the number of vehicles entering key streets.

Higher Calling

Jakarta Public Works Agency bridge development unit head Novrizal said the plan to build elevated roads had first been tabled last year.

He said two other roads besides the Blok M-Antasari and Tanah Abang-Kampung Melayu roads were set for possible construction: Ciledug in Tangerang to Mampang in South Jakarta, and Pasar Minggu to Manggarai, both in South Jakarta.

Novrizal said the first two had been greenlighted because they required the least preparation and cost.

“Making Fatmawati a transportation hub is the priority because it’s expected to handle more traffic caused by the development of the MRT in that area,” he said.

Novrizal said construction on the MRT was scheduled to start in 2012.

With Fatmawati clogged, Novrizal said, commuters spilled out onto Antasari and Pondok Indah, which have notoriously heavy traffic snarls.

“So the elevated road here will help with that problem,” he said.

It would stand on a double pillar base, not the single pillars used in sections of the Inner Ring Road, planted in the sidewalk to minimize the amount of road space taken from Fatmawati.

The Tanah Abang-Kampung Melayu elevated road, however, would be built on single pillars, given the wide roads over which it would run.

Novizal said the projects were currently being tendered, with 20 private and state-owned contractors in the bidding. The winners will be named in July.

Five contractors will be appointed for the Blok M-Antasari road and three for the Tanah Abang-Kampung Melayu road.

“We’re handing out the project in packages to speed up construction because we have a completion target of June 2012,” Novrizal said. Construction was expected to begin by mid-September.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Editorial: Jakarta’s Traffic Snarl is an Urgent Priority

Jakarta Globe, Editorial, May 26, 2010

A massive traffic jam in North Jakarta Jakarta. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

It is a well known fact that Jakarta’s traffic congestion is a chronic nightmare. This is a result of a three-pronged mismanagement attack: The woeful lack of new roads; a sharp increase in the number of vehicles and inadequate public transportation.

In the absence of viable public transportation, it is only logical that people look for the easiest and cheapest means to commute between their homes and work as well as to move around the city. Cars may not be within everyone’s reach but motorcycles are, especially with the various credit schemes on offer. The result is an increasing glut of four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicles on the city’s severely limited road network.

Now, the city administration is apparently trying to reduce congestion by controlling the number of motorcycles on the roads.

The government is considering banning motorcyclists from purchasing government-subsidized fuel, while allowing owners of luxury vehicles built as recently as 2006 to continue to benefit from the program, which was designed with the poor in mind.

Evita Legowo, director general of oil and gas at the Energy Ministry, said on Wednesday that it had been decided that motorcyclists would be banned from buying the subsidized fuel following a meeting with the Indonesian Motorcycle Industry Association. She said only public-transport vehicles and private cars would be eligible to buy the fuel, and the types of cars and their age had not been determined.

Evita said she expects the final scheme for limiting sales of subsidized fuels to be released in June. The government may proceed in rolling out the program throughout Java, the country’s most populous island, in August.

While we welcome the city administration’s efforts, it is important to point out that this step alone will not be effective. Concerted efforts must be made to improve public transportation infrastructure. The busway is a good start, but it is not enough to meet demand. The number of vehicles in the fleet is still limited, and so is the network. To become truly effective, and draw drivers off the streets, the authorities must make a top priority of developing the busway in conjunction with other primary modes of public transportation in the city, such as the train network.

The long delayed mass rapid transit system also must be put on track. The public will not accept any more excuses. Other major cities in the region have pushed ahead and now have such systems. We only have to think back to the massive traffic messes in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur a decade ago.

For Jakarta to join the ranks of these cities, both the central government and the city administration must display political will, proper planning and execution. For how much longer must we continue to suffer from mismanagement by the authorities?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garuda opens Jakarta-Ternate route

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 05/26/2010 10:43 AM | Business

JAKARTA: Garuda Indonesia started daily flights between Jakarta and Ternate, North Maluku, on Tuesday as part of a program to service all of Indonesia’s provincial capitals.

The Ternate flight will stop in Manado the provincial capital of North Sulawesi.

The Ternate route will be serviced by a Boeing 737-300 narrow-body jetliner with 94 economy-class and 16 business-class seats, said a Garuda official.

North Maluku Governor Thaib Armayn said Garuda’s new route would benefit Ternate.

Garuda commercial director Agus Priyanto said that the Garuda would start flights to Ambon, Maluku, on June 3 and to Palu, Central Sulawesi, on July 3. — JP

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Airport operator demands govt help to settle social problems

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang | Mon, 05/24/2010 6:08 PM

Authorities at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport urged the government Monday to pay attention and lend hands in integrated attempts to overcome growing social problems at the country’s international gate.

“We will never give up but we frankly admit that we can never handle social problems at the airport without the assistance from the government,” Haryanto, airport general executive manager said Monday.

He cited a number of the growing but unsolved social problems facing the airport authority such as the operation of illegal porters, street vendors, shoe polishers, beggars and scavengers not to mention other problems that worsen the airport’s image such as ticket scalpers and illegal taxis.

“The problems we are facing are very complicated and therefore we can never manage them alone,” he said.

According to Haryanto, in response to numerous complaints from the public, airport operator PT Angkasa Pura began improving cleanliness and comforts at the terminals in 2007.

“Since 2009, there has not been more complaints on dirty toilets and terminals and this year we began focusing on the improvement of passengers’ security and safety by applying screening check point (SCP) against all passengers at the terminals,” he said.

Haryanto admitted that upholding orderliness at the airport is the only problem that the airport operator could not handle alone because the root of the matter is social problems that need the government’s intervention.

Meanwhile, Roch Agus, security chief for vital objects and perimeter at the airport, mentioned that airport security officers managed to net 19,391 violators of public order at the airport in 2009.

The violators included 7,829 street vendors, 407 illegal porters, 1,392 shoe polishers, 1,663 ticket scalpers, 1,177 drivers of cars whose tires were locked, 6,169 illegal taxis, 227 scavengers, 15 mobile phone voucher sellers and 17 illegal migrant worker scalpers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Garuda Indonesia is Awarded World's Most Improved Airline

Jakarta Globe, May 24, 2010

Garuda is deemed the World's Most Improved Airline (Photo JG)

Garuda Indonesia was announced as the winner of the World's Most Improved Airline Award at the 2010 World Airline Awards in Hamburg.

The award was a part of annual ceremony by Skytrax, a United Kingdom-based consultancy that conducts research for commercial airlines. Skytrax based their ratings and awards on surveys of more than 17 million passengers, carried out over 10 months.

Passengers rate airlines on customer service, comfort of seating, quality of food, lounges and cabin crew.

Vice President Corporate Communications of Garuda Indonesia Pujobroto said in a release that the award was accepted by the company's commercial director Agus Priyanto. Pujo said the award was international appreciation for their success.

“Garuda is considered to be one of the most successful and lucrative airlines in Asia,” he said.

Skytrax Chairman Edward Plaisted praised Garuda Indonesia for the award.

“This was a very competitive category in the 2010 Awards, and our sincere congratulations go to Garuda Indonesia on their success. It is clear that a real process of transformation has progressed well at Garuda Indonesia, and aside from new aircraft and new onboard products, it was improvements in onboard service that were most frequently commented upon by survey respondents," Edward said in Worldairlineawards.com.

The runners-up in this Award category were Hainan Airlines and Oman Air .

Another Asian airline joined Garuda in winning — AirAsia was given the Best Low-Cost Airline award.

Related Articles:

Editorial: Garuda Maps Out New SOE Flight Path

Indonesia Shows Greece There's Life After Austerity in BRIC Bid


Jakarta’s Cyclists Hope for Smoother Ride by Opening Bike to Work Center

Jakarta Globe, Nurfika Osman, May 24, 2010

Visitors inspecting some flashy new wheels at the Bike to Work center in South Jakarta on Sunday. B2W encourages the widespread use of bicycles as a healthy lifestyle that cuts emissions. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Jakarta’s legions of bicyclists, frustrated by waves of traffic and crumbling roadways, are hoping for a smoother ride after opening a new home in South Jakarta on Sunday.

The Bike to Work center was officially opened by program manager Toto Sugito, head of the National Council on Climate Change Rachmat Witoelar and Deputy Minister of Environment Hendri Gustaman.

“With the facilities we have in the B2W house, the coordination of the 85 B2W communities and more than 18,000 B2W bikers in the country can be managed from right here,” Toto said.

The resource center, he said, would serve as a meeting point for the nation’s bicyclists; a maintenance workshop; a library for bicycle-related information from around the world; and a shop selling biking gear.

Looking to spread the word about the benefits of an environmentally friendly lifestyle, Jakarta’s B2W community also rolled out the www.b2w-indonesia.or.id Web site. The portal has links to forums and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“We hope that the members of the Bike to Work community will communicate with one another and share their experiences so we can build two-way communication,” Toto said.

The community, established in 2004, has long campaigned for the establishment of bicycle lanes in the country’s vehicle-clogged cities.

“[We need] to reduce pollution and preserve our natural resources while encouraging healthy lifestyles,” Toto said.

Rachmat, who was there to offer an official endorsement from the government, threw his support behind the program’s ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“People shouldn’t turn away from bikes, they can make our lives healthier, they are economical, environmental friendly and people can still flash some style while riding,” Rachmat said. “This is also a great way to reduce our carbon emissions and protect the environment. It really should be a concern for all of us.”

The Jakarta Cycling Club, Alita Cycling and Indosat Cycling, all based in the capital, were also on hand at the opening, during which B2W announced corporate sponsorship deals with state flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia and Sodexo Pass Indonesia.

Bike to Work communities have grown rapidly worldwide at pace with increased public awareness about global warming and healthy living.

At present, Indonesia is the world’s third biggest greenhouse gas emitter. Although the majority of those emissions come from the wholesale logging of its forests.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Plane makes emergency landing

nzherald.co.nz, by Anna Rushworth, 4:00 AM Sunday May 23, 2010

A passenger plane owned by a troubled airline was forced to make an emergency landing after power loss in one of its engines.

The twin-engine Partenavia P68B, belonging to Great Barrier Airlines, got into trouble about three minutes after taking off from the Island's Claris Airfield on November 4.

A Civil Aviation Authority report says the right-hand engine "suddenly lost power, then surged back up again" before another loss 10 to 15 seconds later.

As the power continued to surge, extra power was selected for the left engine, while the right idled.

The aircraft returned to the airfield for an "uneventful landing", the report says.

A maintenance investigation discovered the fuel line to the engine pump was in contact with heat from the engine exhaust. The heating may have caused vapour to develop in the fuel line.

The report says this was the second time the aircraft had experienced such a problem.

The incident is the latest in a string of troubles suffered by the airline dating back to 1998 when the entire fleet was grounded by former CAA director Kevin Ward for "critical deficiencies", including flying aircraft with known defects.

Last July, terrified passengers watched as a propeller came off their aircraft mid-air.

And in September, a Piper Cherokee 6 crashed into a swamp moments after take-off from Claris.

The CAA and Transport Accident Investigation Commission are still investigating.

The airline did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

At least 158 feared dead in India plane crash

CNN, May 22, 2010 4:49 a.m. EDT

Rescue personnel, volunteers and onlookers are seen near the wreckage of the Air India crash in Mangalore on Saturday.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • NEW: Eight of 165 passengers aboard plane taken to hospitals
  • Remaining passengers feared dead after plane crashed into valley, burst into flames
  • At least 25 bodies from the wreckage by mid-morning Saturday, officials say
  • Jetliner was arriving in India on flight from Dubai, according to Air India

(CNN) -- At least 158 people are feared dead after a passenger jet overshot a runway, crashed into a valley and burst into flames in southern India on Saturday morning, officials said.

Eight of the 166 people on board Air India Flight IX-812 were taken to hospitals after the crash outside Mangalore International Airport, the airline's director told reporters.

The Boeing 737 took off from Dubai and crashed while trying to make its scheduled landing in Mangalore at 6:30 a.m. Saturday (9 p.m. ET Friday), Air India Director Anup Srivastava said.

Witnesses said the plane crashed through the hilltop airport's boundary wall and fell into a valley, CNN-IBN reported.

Survivors told CNN's sister network that they jumped out of the plane after it crashed, seconds before it burst into flames.

Rescue workers struggled to reach the crash site in a hilly wooded area beyond the 2,038-foot runway, the network said. Smoke from the plane also hampered rescue efforts, CNN-IBN reported.

Rescuers had recovered at least 25 bodies from the wreckage by mid-morning Saturday, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

Abhay Pathak, a regional manager for Air India based in Dubai, said there were 160 passengers on board the plane and six crew members.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced financial aid for the victims Saturday and canceled scheduled events at his residence to mark the end of his first year in office.

The government said families would receive 200,000 rupees, or about $4,260, for each dead passenger and 50,000 rupees, or $1,064, for every injured passenger.

The airline has offered any relatives of crash victims in the United Arab Emirates free passage to India, Pathak said, and about 20 people have accepted the offer.

Srivastava said India Air was investigating the crash and trying to confirm casualties.

The pilot did not report any problems before landing the plane, the civil aviation ministry said.

The Mangalore airport reported calm wind, no rain and a visibility of 6 km at the time of the crash, the ministry said.

Boeing released a statement saying the company would send a team to provide technical assistance to Indian authorities during their investigation.

The 8,000-foot runway at Mangalore's airport opened in 2006, and officials say it has an end-safety area of about 90 meters.

Air India has released the following telephone numbers to learn more information about the crash:

General: +91 2560 3101 +91 2565 6196

In Mangalore: 0824 222 0422

Dubai (Air India Express): 00971 4 2165828/29

Related Articles:

Air crash puts focus on India infrastructure, safety

Environment group blames air crash on faulty runway construction


Monday, May 10, 2010

Garuda Plans to Cover Gap After JAL Cuts Bali Routes

Jakarta Globe, Made Arya Kencana, Ardian Wibisono & Yessar Rossendar, May 10, 2010

Amid a massive restructuring, Japan Airlines has decided to trim unprofitable routes, including to Bali. The planned cancellation will leave Garuda the only carrier flying from Japan to the resort island of Bali. (EPA Photo)

National flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia announced on Monday that it was ready to fill the void after ailing Japan Airlines canceled its routes to Bali this year.

Kiyoshi Tanaka, a JAL representative in Bali, said on Monday that the bankrupt airline’s massive restructuring had prompted it to cut less-profitable routes, including to Bali, which have already showed a decrease in passenger numbers. He said JAL’s daily Tokyo-Denpasar and Osaka-Denpasar would be eliminated by Oct. 1, leaving Garuda the only carrier flying between Japan and the resort island.

Pujobroto, Garuda’s corporate secretary, said on Monday after JAL’s announcement that the Indonesian carrier would raise its Osaka-Denpasar flights from four times a week to five starting in November. Garuda also provides once-daily Denpasar-Tokyo service and three Denpasar-Nagoya flights per week.

“The flights from Denpasar to Japan will use Airbus 330-300 aircraft,” Pujobroto said.

Pujobroto also added that Garuda was planning daily Jakarta-Tokyo service in September.

JAL, Asia’s biggest carrier, declared bankruptcy in January under $6 billion of debt. Poor management and out-of-control costs, as well as unprofitable routes, were all factors leading to one of Japan’s biggest corporate busts.

Its troubles were also compounded by the global financial downturn, which decimated travel demand for its extensive international flight network.

According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of visitors from Japan to Bali dropped 22 percent to 65,059 in the first quarter from the year-earlier period.

JAL currently has two daily routes to Bali, Tokyo-Denpasar and JAL 715 Osaka-Denpasar.

Heru Legowo, general manager of PT Angkasa Pura I Ngurah Rai, regretted JAL’s decision to stop the service, which it has flown for 10 years. He said the cancellation made little sense because the 400 passangers arrived on each flight as well as cargo, not to mention the fees JAL paid to the airport management firm.

“With the route closing, we will lose income of Rp 150 million [$16,500] a day,” Heru said.

Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, chairman of Bali’s Tourism Board, said the closure would also cause tourist numbers to drop. Japan accounts for the third-largest number of visitors after Australia and China.

Ronn Nomura, sales and marketing officer of Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bali, said the impact had already begun to be felt.

“With the closure, we expect to lose 50 percent of our guests,” he said.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Volcanic ash cloud shuts Spanish airports


Spain has closed 15 airports as a cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano drifts south over Western Europe.

National airport management agency Aena said nine airports closed early on Saturday and six more shut from 1200 local time (1000 GMT).

The restrictions would be in place until at least 1800, Aena said

Most flights between Europe and North America are being diverted because of the ash cloud's latest drifting, officials at Eurocontrol said.

Flights are being rerouted north and south of the 1,200 mile (2,000km) long cloud.

On average, 600 airliners make the Atlantic crossing every day, correspondents say.

Aena said the airports affected were Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Zaragoza, Pamplona, La Rioja, Santiago, La Coruna, Vigo, Asturias, Santander, Leon, Valladolid, Burgos and Salamanca.

Eurocontrol, the agency that co-ordinates aviation safety in Europe, said airports were also expected to close in northern Portugal and parts of southern France.

In the UK, some flights to Spain were being affected.

At London Stansted, 22 Ryanair flights to the Canary Islands, mainland Spain and Portugal were cancelled, along with three EasyJet flights.

Flights from Gatwick to Portugal, Alicante and Madrid were cancelled and at Heathrow some flights to La Coruna in northern Spain were also grounded.

Last month, thousands of travellers were stranded after ash shut down airspace across Europe.

Recent images have shown activity in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano intensifying.

Experts at the UK's Met Office said it was sending ash up to heights of 30,000 ft (9,100m).

Flights across Ireland and parts of the UK were disrupted earlier this week.

Govt plans to scrap 3-in-1 car pooling policy in Jakarta

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/08/2010 11:00 AM

The central government plans to scrap the 3-in-1 rush hour car pooling regulation in the city and implement a retribution system instead, says a city official.

M. Akbar, head of traffic management at the Jakarta Transportation Agency, told The Jakarta Post on

Friday the government was still drafting the regulation for the implementation of the new retribution system policy.

“We are still unsure about when we can start imposing the new regulation,” Akbar said.

The 3-in-1 is a policy aimed at limiting the number of vehicles on the city’s main roads by stipulating that cars have at least three passengers in their car during rush hour.

The regulation applies to main thoroughfares such as Jl. Sudirman, Jl. Thamrin, Jl. S. Parman and Jl. Gatot Subroto.

The policy was introduced in 1994, but it has proved ineffective as drivers hire traffic jockeys to ride as temporary passengers in their cars so they comply with the regulation.

The government plans to implement a new retribution policy that will be paid by motorists and says it will start discussing the plan in June.

Under the initial plan, the retribution will be imposed on all cars using the current 3-in-1 restricted area. Later, the fee will be imposed on cars with less than three passengers, Elly Sinaga, the director for urban transport development at the Transportation Ministry, told detik.com.

During that stage, the authority will need to install special devices to detect the number of passengers in a car.

The government still doesn’t know how much investment will be needed to implement the regulation, but it has proposed that each car pay Rp 20,000 to use Jakarta’s main thoroughfares during rush hour.

The Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI) supports the plan, but has reminded the government not to use the policy to generate revenue rather than solve the city’s traffic problems.

With the new policy, the government should focus on efforts to improve the quality of the mass transportation in Jakarta, said Sudaryatmo from the YLKI.

“The policy should not only aim at limiting the number of cars, but also at creating a better transportation system,” Sudaryatmo said.

“It will be useless if the government tells people not to use private cars, but doesn’t offer any alternatives,” he added.

So far, Jakarta only has TransJakarta, a public bus system that uses a special lane.

But the existing system is considered incapable of providing public transport for the city’s population, while grand plans to build a subway and monorail have thus far been abandoned.

Private employee Krisdyan Widagdo Adhi, 29, said he welcomed the government’s plan.

“I hope this policy will deter people from using cars on main streets. I don’t mind paying if the traffic is smooth,” he said.

Krisdyan has refused to use his car to travel to his office on Jl. Zainul Arifin in West Jakarta, from

his house in Bintaro, South Jakarta, because of the bad traffic on Jl. Sudirman.

He currently rides his motorbike to his office.

However, Krisdyan hoped the new policy was not a short-term solution, saying the city desperately needed a reliable public transportation system.

Garuda to reopen Ambon route early June

Antara News, Saturday, May 8, 2010 12:45 WIB

Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA News) - PT Garuda Indonesia Airlines is ready to reopen its Jakarta-Ambon route with a stopover in Makassar, South Sulawesi, in the first week of next June.

The general manager of Garuda Indonesia`s Makassar branch office, Hendra Sumarno, said here on Saturday, the company was preparing the personnel needed to handle the reopened route.

In addition, an office of the national flag carrier would be opened next to the Mutiara Hotel on Jalan Raya Pattimura in Ambon to give the best possible service to Garuda customers in Maluku.

Hendra Sumarno said Garuda flights to Ambon were scheduled to depart from Jakarta`s Soekarno-Hatta airport at 10 a.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB) with a stopover at Makassar`s Hassanudin airport before flying to Pattimura airport in Ambon, and return to Jakarta at 5 pm East Indonesia Time (WIT).

"We are to schedule Ambon-Jakarta flights in such a way that they will arrive in Jakarta a few hours before Garuda flights to Amsterdam take off because many foreign passengers from Ambon usually want to have connecting flights to the Netherlands," Sumarno said.

He said the Jakarta-Makassar-Ambon route would be served with aircraft having a capacity of 14 to 16 business-class seats and 120 economy-class seats.

Other airline companies flying to Ambon at present are Lion Air, Batavia Air, and Sriwijaya Air from Ambon-Makassar-Jakarta, Ambon-Surabaya-Jakarta, and Ambon-Jakarta.

Garuda`s Jakarta-Ambon flight service would be reopened in conjunction with the addition of 24 new aicraft to its fleet in 2010, namely 23 new generation Boeing 737-800s and one Airbus A330-200.

Meanwhile, Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said here recently that Garuda would fly to Ambon again starting June 1, 2010.

"Garuda`s management has obtained a recommendation from the transportation ministry and thus it will fly to Ambon again on the first day of June this year," he said.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking to the Skies

Jakarta Globe, Katrin Figge, May 07, 2010

Flight Experience Singapore offers the opportunity to climb into a simulator and pilot an aircraft.  (JG Photo/Katrin Figge)

For many years now, my older sister, Natalia, has suffered from a fear of flying, or aviophobia, to use the technical term. It started 15 years ago after a tumultuous landing during a snow storm in Berlin and has worsened in recent years after she experienced heavy turbulence on a short flight from Cologne to Frankfurt.

She has some superstition-based rituals she conducts every time she boards a plane — and she does so often, because her work for a Singapore-based foundation requires her to travel a lot. But it doesn’t really help to erase the fear.

“I always try to get a seat close to the wing because I think, in case of turbulence, it feels less bumpy there,” Natalia said. “During takeoff and landing I am waiting for certain sounds, like the folding up of the wheels, so I know everything is in its right place. If the sounds aren’t there, that makes me nervous.”

A friend of hers, a pilot for German airline Lufthansa, once invited her to sit in the cockpit during one of his flights, and afterward, she said she felt better about flying for a while.

“He explained to me how everything worked, and afterward, I was more confident,” she said. “But that was a long time ago, and suddenly the fear of flying came back.”

Her friend suggested that she take a lesson in a flight simulator, as that might help her overcome her fears. Luckily for her, she lives in Singapore, where such a flight simulator opened two years ago.

Joanna Caston and her husband, Michael, established Flight Experience Singapore in February 2008. The Castons have more than 50 years of combined experience in aviation: Michael was a captain with British Airways and Singapore Airlines for more than 35 years while Joanna worked as a flight attendant.

“After Michael retired, he was visiting family in Sydney and saw the Flight Experience there being set up,” Joanna said. “He was really keen to bring this amazing and unique concept to Singapore and to share his passion for flying with both locals and visitors.”

Since its establishment, Flight Experience Singapore has attracted many visitors who come for a variety of different reasons.

“We have customers from all over the world and from all walks of life,” Joanna said. “Some have long held a dream to be a pilot but were unable to because of their circumstances, others are fascinated by what goes on behind the flight deck door, others want to prepare for job interviews with the airlines, others spend hours playing flight sim games and want to test their skills on the real thing.”

Joanna, who has flown the simulator quite a few times, said the experience in a flight simulator can be quite addictive.

“We have our regular guests, including some who travel each month just to come to Flight Experience, as well as people who just want to try it once,” she said. “We even have customers who have traveled down from as far as Japan or added Singapore to their travel itinerary just to have this amazing opportunity.”

And then there are those like my sister, who will try anything to feel relaxed on an airplane. Joanna agrees that a flight lesson in a simulator can help people conquer aviophobia.

“Since access to the flight deck has been restricted [since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks], our nervous passengers are even more anxious as they now have no idea what goes on during takeoff, flight and landing,” she said. “Flight Experience gives them the opportunity to hear from a real pilot about the effects of turbulence, how aircraft fly and what the noises, bumps and clicks mean.”

More than just hearing explanations, these would-be pilots are able to take action.

“We allow them to take control of the simulator and find out how much training pilots go through before being allowed to fly commercial aircraft,” Joanna said. “We also pass on relaxation techniques and give them many useful tools to lessen the stress of flying, from tips about packing cabin baggage to how to organize yourself on board. We have already run several successful courses and the feedback has been amazing.”

So Natalia decided to take up the challenge and signed up for a 60-minute, 255 Singapore dollar ($180) flight lesson. She was allowed to bring two guests, and since I happened to be visiting that weekend, she invited me to come along. Her boyfriend refused, saying: “What if you crash this thing? No thanks.”

On a sunny Tuesday morning, we arrived at Flight Experience Singapore and were greeted by staff members who asked us to sit down and watch a video as preparation. The video, meant as an introductory briefing, was full of technical terms that left us somewhat intimidated, and I promptly forgot most of them before the video was over. Honestly, I was a bit relieved that all I had to do was sit in the jump seat and observe.

After watching the video, we stepped into the cockpit — an exact replica of the widely used Boeing 737. Natalia seemed to be cool on the outside, but I could tell that she was pretty nervous.

Our flight instructor for the day was a pilot named Cooper who has worked part-time at Flight Experience Singapore for one and a half years.

“He looks young,” Natalia whispered to me. “Do you think he knows what he’s doing?”

As it turned out, her worries were unfounded, as Cooper did a good job, not only in explaining the steps ahead but also in reassuring her and keeping her calm.

“All our pilots are real pilots and all the crew are highly experienced in calming nerves,” Joanna confirmed.

The profusion of buttons, switches and instruments were a bit overwhelming, but as it turned out, Natalia only needed to learn the basics to be able to manage the takeoff and landing.

After Cooper explained to her what to do, he smiled at her and said, “Ready? Now choose the airport you want to go to, and then we can start with the first round.” The company has footage of more than 20,000 airports from which customers can choose to take off or land, and which are projected onto the windshield of the cockpit.

Natalia decided she wanted to fly to Frankfurt first — maybe because the city represented something familiar in this strange setting. When Cooper told her “whenever you’re ready,” she gazed over her shoulder and looked at me a bit desperately.

The cockpit shuddered as the “engines” roared to life, we taxied down the virtual runway and, pulling back on the control stick, Natalia lifted us gently into the sky. In the end, it was not as scary as she thought it would be, and she handled the takeoff without any difficulty.

“You have no idea how sweaty my hands were during the first takeoff,” Natalia admitted afterward, laughing.

There was not much time, however, to enjoy the view from the air because unlike real life, we were approaching Frankfurt airport after only 10 minutes.

Landing was much more difficult than taking off, Natalia said. But with instructions from Cooper she managed to land us safely on the runway.

From Frankfurt, we flew to Jakarta, first to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, and afterward to the old Halim Airport.

“This one is a bit tricky,” Cooper said. “Halim is the airport where British Airways made an emergency landing after they had flown through volcanic ash and lost their four engines.”

He laughed when he saw the look of shock on Natalia’s face.

Joanna said that even though the simulator could recreate dangerous flying conditions, they had never had a client quit during a simulation.

“We can recreate turbulence. We can even make it snow in Singapore,” she said. “[But] no one is forced to do anything. We have actually set the sims we use for the public to ‘bounce back’ if it does crash.”

Since Natalia had only signed up for the basic lesson, she didn’t have to go through turbulence or bad weather, but she asked Cooper what to do in such situations.

“The first thing you would do is slow down,” he said. “It’s like when you’re driving in the car on a street with many potholes, you slow down, you wouldn’t go full speed.”

He also reminded us of something we’d heard numerous times before: that flying is actually the safest way to travel, and that statistically there are many more car accidents than plane crashes.

“I think it’s this feeling of not being in control,” Natalia said, trying to explain her fright. “If something should happen when you’re in the plane, you don’t have the power to do anything about it.”

Several takeoffs and landings later, the lesson was over. When I asked her if she thought the experience had cured her aviophobia, she just smiled.

“It was definitely a great experience,” she said. “I hope it worked — we’ll see about that when I have to fly the next time.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Indonesia’s Garuda Denies Price-Fixing

Jakarta Globe, May 05, 2010

Garuda Indonesia is denying that it committed fraud after the country’s business regulator ruled it had illegally inflated prices.

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia on Wednesday denied it had engaged in price-fixing after the country’s business regulator ruled it had illegally inflated prices.

The Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU) fined nine local airlines 585 billion rupiah (64 million dollars) for forming a cartel to fix fuel surcharges and pass on the costs to passengers.

It found that customers of the airlines had lost around 1.5 billion dollars through the scam.

Garuda spokesman Pudjobroto said the company, which is set to raise around 500 million dollars through a public offering this year, was considering an appeal.

“We firmly reject the KPPU ruling,” he told AFP. “We all know that the application of a fuel surcharge is common in the airline industry around in the world. Fuel surcharges are applied by airlines in relation to fuel price increases.”

The competition watchdog fined Garuda Rp 187 billion for its part in the fraud.

Agence France-Presse

Related Article:

Garuda turns down KPPU`s cartel decision