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

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

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. …

Friday, March 30, 2007

Garuda Indonesia buys 35 jets from Boeing

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Garuda Indonesia has bought 35 new jets from Boeing Co which will start arriving from 2009, the flag Garuda spokesman Pujo Broto said.

"This involves a package of 25 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation and 10 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners," Broto was quoted by AFP as saying.

Broto declined to give the full value of the aircraft order but said an initial 23 mln usd had been paid.

The Next Generation aircraft are to be used for domestic travel and are due by late 2009. The Dreamliners, expected from 2011, are earmarked for long-haul international routes.

Qatar Airways expected to bring more foreign tourists to Bali

Rita A.Widiadana, The Jakarta Post, Jimbaran, Bali

With the launch of direct flight from Doha to Bali's provincial capital, Denpasar, last week, Qatar Airways is expected to help bring more tourists from the Middle East and Europe to the resort island.

Speaking Thursday to reporters at a media gathering at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Jimbaran Bay, Qatar Airways's chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker, said he hoped the airline would not only bring visitors from the Middle East to Bali, but also from Europe and North America.

"Bali has always been one of the world's top destinations despite terrorist attacks years ago. People will again go back to Bali and forget those terrible events," Al Baker said.

Qatar Airways, which launched its new route to Denpasar on Saturday, flies to Bali's capital four times a week via Kuala Lumpur using Airbus A300-600 aircraft.

In 2001, Qatar Airways introduced Indonesia's capital Jakarta to its growing list of global destinations.

"With stronger economic ties developing between Indonesia and other countries, we can expect a surge in the number of visitors both to and from Bali," Al Baker explained.

According to figures from the Bali Tourism Authority, the number of visitors from the Middle East is still very small, amounting to only 800 a month. Bali receives about 1.2 million visitors a year.

"We can't tell you how many passengers from the Middle East will come to Bali, but I can assure you that people in my country consider Bali to be an attractive holiday destination," he said, adding that at present Qataris and other people from the Middle East mostly spent their holidays in Europe.

Gede Nurjaya, the head of the Bali Tourism Authority, warmly welcomed the start of direct flights between Doha and Denpasar.

"We have to be prepared to receive Middle Eastern visitors, and also more Europeans," he said, adding that since Garuda Indonesian discontinued its European routes, including London, Amsterdam and Paris, several years ago, the number of European visitors had dropped significantly.

Europe is one of Bali's most important markets, in addition to Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik praised Qatar's decision to fly to Denpasar, hoping that with the airline's arrival, more tourists from the Middle East and Europe would visit Bali and other parts of Indonesia.

Besides Denpasar, the airline also launched inaugural flights last week from Doha to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and from Doha to Chennai, India.

The addition of Denpasar and Ho Chi Minh City sees Qatar Airways' Far East network increase from 12 to 14 destinations. The airline also serves Hong Kong, Osaka, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Yangon, Manila and Cebu.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Garuda black boxes deciphered

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: The black box of the ill-fated Garuda jetliner has been deciphered, but the public must now wait up to three months before the information is disclosed, a chief investigator said Wednesday.

Mardjono Siswosumarno, who leads the investigation on the Boeing 737-400 crash that killed 22 of its passengers, said the cockpit voice recorder contained the last 30 minutes of conversation before the accident.

"We can hear everything from the pilot's and co-pilot's conversations to flight attendants giving instructions to passengers," Mardjono was quoted as saying by news agency.

Earlier, the airliner's flight data recorder had been successfully read in Australia by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB). The bureau later sent the badly-burnt voice recorder to its maker, Honeywell, in Seattle for deciphering. -- JP

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Emergency chopper landing in Papua

The Jakarta Post

JAYAPURA, Papua: Technical problems forced an Air Force helicopter to make an emergency landing at Terpones airport in Keerom regency.

Four people were on board the helicopter: the pilot, the co-pilot and two technicians.

The co-pilot, identified as David, was slightly wounded during the landing. He was rushed to the Air Force's health clinic in Sentani near Jayapura.

"Only David was injured," said Capt. Biyantoro from the Sentani base.

Biyantoro said that the helicopter made the emergency landing due to a malfunctioning instrument panel. "All the indicators on the panel were off, confusing the pilot," he said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kalla defends the purchase of 12 choppers

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): Vice President Jusuf Kalla Tuesday defended the government's purchase of 12 helicopters, which will be used to carry out immediate helps for victims of natural disasters.

He also denied that the procurement of the choppers did not pass through right procedures.

"There is nothing wrong with the procedure. All those stories are nonsense," he was quoted by Antara news agency as saying before leaving for his Middle East trip.

Many criticized the procurement of the choppers, which were being held by Custom Office because supplier has not paid entry taxes. There was also a report that the procurement involved Kalla's relative.

According to Kalla, the chopper purchase is for the pride of the nation and for the sake of people's interests because so far, Indonesia always borrowed choppers from neighboring countries to give immediate help to victims of natural disasters.

He also denied that the choppers will be used for commercial transports.

Plane makes emergency landing in Papua

The Jakarta Post

JAYAPURA (Antara): A Puma 3315 trainer aircraft owned by the Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) made an emergency landing in the Oksibil-Okbibab region in Bintang district, Papua province, on Tuesday.

None of the four airmen aboard the plane sustained injury, spokesman of the Trikora Regional Military Command Lt. Col. Imam Santosa said.

"The Puma was on routine training flight," he said. The plane which took off from Jayapura, capital of Papua province, at 09.25 p.m. was believed to have developed a technical problem forcing it to make the emergency landing, he said.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Qatar Airways opens Diha-Denpasar flight route

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - Qatar Airways will open a new flight route of Doha - Denpasar with a transit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the initial flight is expected to be officiated on Wednesday.

"The airlines` Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Akbar Al Baker who is also Qatar`s Minister for Tourism will attend for the function," Freddy SPS of the Bali Tourism Board said on Monday.

The airlines` manager area of Indonesia Joe Rajadurai, meanwhile after a meeting with Bali Governor Dewa Beratha said the airlines has committed to support the tourist sector in Bali and would cooperate with the provincial tourism office to promote tourist destination here.

Freddy said it would bring more tourists from the European and Middle East countries as well as Malaysia.

Bali Governor Dewa Beratha, meanwhile said the provincial administration supported the opening of the new route.

The airlines will be the first airline company from the Middle East operating in Bali.

Beratha also expressed a hope that the airlines would serve the direct flight connecting Doha and Bali in the near future.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Indonesia Air plans to expand, launch scheduled, cargo services

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Publicly listed charter airline operator PT Indonesia Air Transport (IATA) is expanding its business into scheduled passenger and cargo services.

"We are planning to move, one step at a time, to open up scheduled services within the next two or three years," IATA president director Roekman Prawirasasra said Friday after a shareholders extraordinary meeting.

"Most airlines choose to compete on lucrative routes, such as the Jakarta-Surabaya route, but this company prefers to serve the eastern parts of the country," he said, adding that the company, which will serve the country's main tourist destination, Bali, and major cities in the eastern part of the country, saw major business opportunities in scheduled services.

IATA has purchased two ATR 42-300 airplanes for US$3 million each from the Denmark-based Nordic Aviation Contractor. In cooperation with tourism company PT Mirantha Nuansa Ayu, IATA has been flying one of the planes in Bali since earlier this month, while the other one is still in Denmark and will commence operations in May.

According to Roekman, IATA will purchase another three aircraft, either ATRs or Fokker 50s, in order to provide scheduled services.

The company is also considering whether to move into the cargo business, despite the current gloomy market conditions.

IATA plans to spend US$30 million on aircraft procurement this year alone.

Currently, IATA, with a fleet of 17 aircraft, provides services to a number of mining and forestry companies.

The firm, which is 79.8 percent owned by publicly listed PT Bimantara Citra, closed 2006 with a surging net profit of Rp 28.64 billion ($3.11 million), up by 89 percent from Rp 15.12 billion in 2005, despite a fall in company revenue.

Roekaman said that the increase in net profit was partly due to a decline of debt-repayment expenses.

IATA's revenue in 2006 fell by 12 percent to Rp 204.13 billion from Rp 231.05 billion in the previous year due to the strengthening of the rupiah against U.S. dollar.

For this year, IATA expects to boost its revenue and net profit by between 10 and 15 percent.

Busway relief expected in April

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post): Relief is expected for the long queues on the four newest busway corridors, with additional buses expected to arrive in April.

Sixty-one new TransJakarta buses will begin operating along Corridor 4 between Pulogadung and Dukuh Atas, and Corridor 6 from Ragunan to Kuningan. An additional 51 buses will start plying Corridor 5 from Kampung Melayu to Ancol, and Corridor 7 between Kampung Melayu and Kampung Rambutan.

TransJakarta manager Rene Nunumete said Thursday that currently there were a total of 56 buses operating on the four new corridors. This includes 25 buses pulled from corridors 1 and 2.

According to the Jakarta Transportation Agency, a total of 129 buses will eventually serve the four new corridors, consisting of 112 regular buses and 17 articulated buses.

The articulated buses, imported from China, are expected to arrive in May.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Window of Merpati plane fractures while flying

JAKARTA (JP): A front part of window glass of Boeing 737-300 plane posed rupture when the aircraft operated by state-owned Merpati Airways was on its flight from Bali capital of Denpasar to East Nusa Tenggara capital of Kupang, report says.

MetroTV reported that the plane could land safely in an airport in Kupang, but its extending flight to Jakarta had to be delayed for hours while waiting for window glass to replace the rift one from Surabaya.

Merpati official could not say about the cause of the rupture, saying that it was still under investigation.

Adam Air escapes license revocation

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post): Despite experiencing a series of accidents, Adam Air escaped license revocation as it was only categorized Thursday by the Ministry of Transportation as one of the worst airlines in the country that fail to meet several safety requirements.

The Ministry also announced that six other airlines – Metro Batavia, Trans Wisata, Tri MG Intra Asia Airlines, Manunggal Air Service, Jatayu Gelang Sejahtera, Kartika Airlines - were also put in the same category as Adam Air.

The other 13 airlines were placed in the second category as they were only able to meet the minimum safety requirements.

None of the local airlines met all safety requirements as required by the regulations, the Ministry’s Air Transportation Director General Budi Mulyawan Suyitno was quoted by Metro TV as saying.

He said that Adam Air and the other six airlines under the worst category would be given a-three-month period to improve their airlines otherwise their licenses would be revoked.

Seven Airlines Impose Sanctions

Friday, 23 March, 2007 | 11:09 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Transportation Department will impose sanctions on seven airlines. According to Director General of Air Transportation at the Transportation Department, Budhi Mulyawan Suyitn, the restrictions were a follow-up as the result of evaluation to 20 scheduled airlines with 30 seat capacity or scheduled cargo.

The evaluation comprised three categories. The first category is fulfillment of civil flight safety regulation requirements. The second is the companies that have fulfilled minimal requirements of civil flights but have not yet fulfilled some of the others. The third, the companies have fulfilled minimum civil flight safety requirements but not yet those which potentially will reduce safety level.

According to Budi, out of 20 airlines evaluated, seven are included in the third category. The seven airlines are those which will receive administration sanction of the first, second and third warning with a three-month interval. If there is not any improvement, it will be continued by freezing the air operator’s certificate (AOC).

The evaluation is carried out every three months. If there is not any improvement, the company’s license will be revoked. This provision will be effective starting tomorrow.

He added, out of the 20 airlines, not one is included as the first category. In the second category, there are 13 airlines.

The Transportation Department also evaluated 34 other airline companies with a capacity below 20 seats or unscheduled cargo. Out of the 34 airline companies, 14 are included in the third category. The remainder are in the second category.


Airline Rank

First Category: None

Second Category

Garuda Indonesia; Merpati Nusantara Airline; Lion Mentari Airline; Sriwijaya Air; Wing badiAirline; Indonesia Air Asia; Mandala Airline; Pelita Air Service; Riau Airline; Express Transportasi Antar Benua; Trigana Air Service; Travel Express Aviation Service; Republik Express Airline.

Third Category

Metro Batavia; Adamsky Connection Airline; Kartika Airline; Trans-wisata Air; Tri MG Intra Asia Airline; Manunggal Air Service; Jatayu Gelang Sejahtera

Monday, March 19, 2007

China approves plan to build large jet to rival Boeing, Airbus

Beijing (ANTARA News) - China has approved a plan to build large passenger aircraft to compete with Boeing and Airbus, who together currently dominate the market here, the government and state-run media said Monday.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Cabinet presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao after listening to details of a feasibility study on the project, the State Council said in a statement posted on the government's website.

The plan is to "design and build airplanes that can carry more than 150 passengers and compete with Airbus and Boeing," the state-run China Daily was quoted by AFP as saying in a report.

The newspaper characterised the move as "a major strategic decision" and said the project will begin "as soon as possible."

In the statement, the Cabinet also said it has approved a plan to set up a company to manufacture large aircraft.

China has the technical and material capabilities to develop large aircraft, having been building its aviation industry for 50 years, the statement said.

China's experience has so far been limited to manufacturing smaller, regional aircraft, with the ARJ-21, holding up to 105 seats, expected to begin delivery in 2009, according to state media.

The Cabinet meeting was held on February 26. It did not explain why it took three weeks to announce the decision to the public.

There have been previous indications in public statements and media reports that China had ambitions in the market for large passenger aircraft.

China Aviation Corp I, a major aerospace company, said earlier this month it was looking to develop a new generation of aircraft engines to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers.

"As a country with a huge demand for large-sized planes, it is absolutely unimaginable to rely on imports of aero-engines for long," Liu Daxiang, the company's deputy chief of science and technology, told the China Daily.

China's new-generation engines must be more powerful than those in use in current Airbus or Boeing aircraft, Liu said.

According to the latest market outlook from China Aviation Corp I, China will need 2,230 large aircraft by 2025.

This forecast comes on the back of impressive growth rates in civil aviation in China, fueled by an economy that expanded by 10.7 percent last year.

Some 160 million passengers flew on Chinese airlines during 2006, a rise of 15 percent on the previous year, according to previously released local aviation statistics

Proton plans to open 10 centres in Indonesia

By Zuraimi Abdullah, The Business Times

March 19 2007

PROTON Holdings Bhd, which officially entered Indonesia last Friday, plans to open up to 10 sales and service centres in the republic by March 2008.

This is to facilitate the national carmaker's target of capturing a 1.7 per cent share of all vehicles sold in the republic in five years, said heads of Proton's Indonesian marketing arm.

Three outlets were opened simultaneously in Slipi, Jalan Warung Buncit and Pokok Indah, all in Jakarta, on Saturday.

PT Proton Edar Indonesia directors Norhisham Kamal and Dwi Sasetia said its other outlets will be located in Samarang, Surabaya, Bali, Makasar, Medan, Jogjakarta and Bandung.

Total cost of setting up the outlets could reach US$8 million (RM28 million), they added.

Norhisham and Dwi spoke to Malaysian reporters before Proton's launch in Indonesia by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz on Friday in Jakarta.

Proton would directly operate two outlets including the one in Slipi. The balance of eight are to be run by independent dealers.

Savvy and Gen. 2 are the first Proton models being sold in Indonesia as passenger cars from last Saturday, while the Wira model has been on the road here as a taxi since last August.

"We have to change the perception that Proton is only a taxi manufacturer. We need to have strong promotion. We do hope that with the outlets in the main cities, Indonesians will accept Proton's other models too," Dwi said.

Dwi and Norhisham are bullish on Proton's prospects, going by Toyota's success in having its other models well-accepted here despite the Vios being sold as taxis.

Meanwhile, the first Proton car buyer in Indonesia, only known as Fauze, has selected a red Gen. 2.

"This is my third car and I am proud to have a Malaysian car. I thought, 'Why not this time I add an Asian-made car to my collection?" Fauze, in his 40s, added that he fell in love with the Gen. 2 while visiting a motor show in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Three days off causes increase in train passengers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta train stations were packed Saturday as residents flocked to leave the city for the long weekend. March 19 is Nyepi (the Hindu Day of Silence).

The city's largest railway station, Gambir in Central Jakarta, saw a 30 percent increase in passenger numbers, with most heading to Bandung and Cirebon in West Java, Surabaya and Malang in East Java, Yogyakarta, and Purwokerto, Kutoarjo, and Surakarta in Central Java.

State railway company PT Kereta Api (PT KA) spokesman for Greater Jakarta Ahmad Sujadi said that the increase was a significant one and was seen across all classes, forcing the company to add two more passenger cars to each train.

"The Argo Lawu and Argo Bromo trains, which usually carry six cars now have eight, implying an increase of about 100 passengers at every departure," Ahmad told Antara.

He said many travelers had bought round-trip tickets in the weeks leading up to the holiday and the number of departing passengers had been rising since Friday night, with many people also returning to their villages after the work week.

Despite the large number of people leaving the city, traffic remained a problem in much of Jakarta on Saturday, particularly around shopping malls.

A family from Tanjung Barat, South Jakarta, said it had taken them one-and-a-half hours to get to Senayan in Central Jakarta, a trip that normally takes less than an hour.

Budiswan and his wife were taking their family to an event at the sports stadium, where one of their children was taking part in a marching-band competition.

"There was bad traffic at Semanggi (interchange) on Jl. Gatot Subroto. The turnpike is also jammed. Maybe, people are leaving town in their private cars and that is why the traffic is unusually congested," said the father of three.

Bali welcomes silence for 'Nyepi' holiday

The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The resort island of Bali will be temporarily closed for 24 hours as of Monday morning at 6 a.m. through to the same time Tuesday to observe Nyepi (the Hindu Day of Silence).

The island's Ngurah Rai International Airport will welcome its last flight on Sunday at midnight and will halt operations until the morning of March 20, according to airport spokesman Ahmad Munir.

"We announced the closure on Jan. 9 to all domestic and international airlines plying Bali routes. Therefore, (the companies) already understand the situation," Munir said.

During the ritual of Nyepi, 90 percent of the island's 3.5 million inhabitants will practice Yoga Semedi and Catur Berata Penyepian (meditation), Amati Geni (which forbids them from lighting fires and switching on lights), Amati Karya (working), Amati Lelanguan (enjoying leisure activities) and Amati Lelungan (leaving their houses).

Bali will be completely darkened and silenced for a full day, allowing the island's Hindu population to meditate, contemplate and pray for a better future.

Nyepi is one of the most important religious rituals for Balinese Hindus to welcome the Saka New Year 1929.

No visitors are allowed to come to the island during the day of silence. All entry points, apart from the international airport, Gilimanuk Port in West Bali and Padang Bai Port in East Bali, will be closed.

Gede Putrawan, head of Gilimanuk Port said the ferry port will be closed on Monday morning from 5:30 a.m. through to Tuesday at 6 p.m.

In Padang Bai, the last ferry to travel to Lombok Island will depart by 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

Domestic and foreign visitors are encouraged to stay in their hotels and other places of accommodation during the holiday, as the island will be tightly guarded by traditional Balinese security guards, Pecalang, to ensure all people abide by the holiday regulations.

Schools, public and private offices, and banks will put a hold on operations on the day. Most local and foreign bank ATMs will only operate until 12 noon on Sunday and will be reopened on March 21.

Prior to the Nyepi holiday, Balinese Hindus carried out a series of rituals that began last Friday when thousands of Hindus paraded to the beach nearest them to hold the Melasti ritual -- the cleansing of utensils and more importantly, their souls.

The Melasti ceremony symbolizes the purification of the earth and the universe through the removal of all evil elements.

On Sunday, the Balinese will hold a Tawur Kesanga ceremony, a ritual to present a caru (sacrifice) to the Bhuta Kala (demons), which will be symbolized by giant Ogoh-ogoh dolls that act to ward off any devilish or negative forces.

On the same afternoon, thousands of people will carry their Ogoh-ogoh and set them on fire at a Pengurupukan ritual.

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Purwoko said he had already deployed hundreds of police officers to ensure the smooth running of the ceremony.

"Many streets will be closed and rerouted to avoid traffic jams in many places in Bali this coming Sunday afternoon. I suggest to visitors they stay away from the crowds for their own security," Purwoko said.

He said Christian leaders have also been asked to hold Sunday mass by 4 p.m. at the latest due to the impending traffic jams.

But for many of the island's visitors, these ceremonies provide a rare tourist attraction, with many traveling to Bali specifically to watch the holiday celebrations.

Tjokorda Ardana Sukawati, chairman of the Bali Hotels and Restaurants Association, said that despite the many tourists who have been attracted to the island over the Nyepi holiday, hotels have been encouraged not to hold live music performances and to refrain from switching on lights.

"The majority of hotels in Bali are now fully booked. They are offering a variety of Nyepi packages," he said.

New report gives bleak view of air safety

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Confirming what the public has long suspected, a government-sanctioned fact-finding team has announced that safety standards in the airline industry have been gravely compromised.

The National Team for the Evaluation of Transportation Safety and Security said the government, airline industry and airport operators were all culpable for violating safety regulations, resulting in a string of air disasters.

"Facts that we collected in the field confirm what the public has long believed, that safety in the air transportation industry is at its lowest point," team spokesman Oetarjo Diran said at a press conference Monday.

Members of the team met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to present their review of the state of the air transportation industry. The team was formed in early January, following the crash on New Year's Day of a Boeing 737-400 operated by Adam Air.

Over the past two months, the team has collected data from the Transportation Ministry, state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura and airlines, and interviewed 42 individuals.

In its survey, the team discovered regulation oversights in almost every quarter of the industry.

"We have weak regulations, outdated technology and poorly trained human resources," Oetarjo said.

The team also said unethical conduct bordering on the criminal was common at airlines.

"Some of these infractions could be considered crimes, but we had trouble collecting the evidence to corroborate our accusations," Oetarjo said.

The team attributed the lax security standards to the deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1990s, when private investors were given the right to operate airlines without sufficient funds or expertise.

Yudhoyono asked the team to draw up a concrete plan of action to help the industry achieve zero-accident status within the next three years.

The team is expected to present its recommendations early next week.

In response to the report, Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa said the first step for the government would be to improve the infrastructure of the aviation industry.

He said the government would initiate projects such as the extension of runways at some of the country's international airports.

Hatta said one of the first runways to be extended would be the one at Adi Sucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, where a Garuda Boeing 737-400 crash-landed Wednesday, killing 21 people.

The government, through PT Angkasa Pura, is also expected to procure new radars for a number of airports.

"You know, our radar at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport frequently breaks down. It was first installed in 1985 and we need to refurbish it," Hatta told reporters.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Central Sulawesi to build two more airports

The Jakarta Post

PALU (Antara): Central Sulawesi provincial administration will soon have two new airports that will be built in the districts of Tojo Una-una and Morowali in the next few years.

"We have proposed the plan to the Directorate of the Air Transportation last year," Head of the local air transportation office Adiyono said on Saturday.

He added his office has conducted a survey to see the location for the airports, namely in the Uedele village in Ampana, Tojo Una-una district and in Umbele village in Morowali district.

"We have also presented the plan to the director general for air transportation," he added.

He hoped the construction would be commenced in 2010. He added that each of the airport would be built on a 100-hectare plot of land and has a 900-length of runway.

From lobsters to people: Airline runs from Air Force base

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan

A commercial airline has been operating flights out of an Air Force base in Medan, North Sumatra, for almost two years.

Susi Air serves regular passenger and cargo routes to several destinations in North Sumatra and Aceh. It also has a branch office in Jakarta and opened another one in Jayapura, Papua, in November last year.

The airline, which is owned by PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation, was founded in late 2004 by Susi Pudjiastuti to serve the local fishing communities of Western Indonesia to enable them to quickly supply lobsters and fresh fish to markets in Asia.

The company's finance director, Dedi Irfan Pasaribu, said that in the beginning the airline used the Air Force base as a temporary terminal to distribute tsunami relief to Aceh and Nias Island, North Sumatra. The airline reached the worst-hit Meulaboh two days after the tsunami devastated Aceh on Dec. 26, 2004.

At that time there was only one Susi Air aircraft assisting in relief operations. When their work in Aceh and Nias Island was completed, the company decided to operate a commercial airline serving local routes from Polonia airport.

"Since June 2005 we have sent three proposals to the airport's management PT Angkasa Pura II. But until now we have not received a response or been allocated adequate facilities like other airlines currently operating out of Polonia. For that reason, we will continue using the Air Force base as our terminal," Dedi told The Jakarta Post.

The Air Force has no objections to allowing Susi Air use its hangar as a terminal, which is located about 500 meters from Polonia and shares the same runway.

"Basically, we only pay (the Air Force) maintenance costs. However, if the company earns more, we'll share it," Dedi said.

The airline, in cooperation with Bumi Travel agency, operates six flights per day, four of which serve local routes within the province. The four flights travel to Silangit airport in North Tapanuli regency, Sibisa in Toba Samosir, Aek Godang in South Tapanuli and Binaka in Nias.

The two other fights travel to Sinabang airport in Simeulue and Cut Nya' Dien in Meulaboh, both in Aceh.

The company's corporate legal officer, Winarso, said Susi Air uses Cessna C208B aircraft to serve all of its routes and employs eight local and four foreign pilots.

"We have two aircraft that fly on a daily basis serving local routes in North Sumatra and Aceh. Both aircraft were made in 2004 and each has a 12-seat capacity," he said.

Head of PT Angkasa Pura II at Polonia airport, Frido Frinaldo, said the company had never received a proposal from the management of Susi Air on their wish to operate at the airport.

"I've been working here for six months but I've never received a request from Susi Air management to use the terminal. It just seems to be an excuse," Frido told the Post.

He said if Susi Air management had serious intentions to operate out of Polonia, it could be discussed.

"Everything can be discussed but it has not been possible because I have never met anyone from the company while they have been using the Air Force base for sometime," Frido said, adding that all commercial airlines in the country, including Susi Air, should depart from commercial terminals.

Head of Polonia airport's administration Yuli Sudoso said Susi Air has been reported to the Transportation Ministry in Jakarta for violating commercial airline regulations by using the Air Force base.

"We urge Susi Air to immediately move its operations to Polonia airport in Medan because they are violating regulations concerning passengers and cargo because the relevant facilities are not available at the Air Force base," he said.

Responding to the call, Winarso said the airline would continue using the Air Force base.

"We are desperate because we are receiving no response to our proposals. Besides, the Air Force base is suitable," he said.

New bill to overhaul rail industry

Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The rail transportation bill currently being prepared at the House of Representatives ends the state's monopoly on the industry and requires an audit of state railway company PT Kereta Api (PT KA).

Putra Jaya, chairman of the working committee assigned by the House of Representatives to prepare the bill, said a thorough audit was needed to separate PT KA's assets from the state's assets in the company and assess the status of the company.

"The audit must be completed within three years," he told The Jakarta Post here Friday.

Following the bill's endorsement, scheduled for March 27, the government and PT KA are also required to conduct a technical audit as a preliminary step toward rehabilitating all facilities and railway networks on Java and Sumatra.

"All these problems have contributed to the state-owned company's service to the public and they have to be settled to regain the public's trust in railway transportation," Putra said.

The transitional ruling also stipulates that all trains, wagons, railway infrastructure and networks are to be audited and repaired to make trains an alternative cheap and safe public transportation mode.

"The public have the right to cheap and safe transportation and the government has an obligation to provide it in compensation for the taxes the people pay to the state," he said.

PT KA's management will also be asked to increase the salaries of all employees whose status was not upgraded when the firm became a limited company in 1992. Since 1992, all employees who were originally recruited as servicemen have been underpaid and have not been registered with social security programs.

The bill also opens the way for national corporations to take part in the rail industry, although it does not set out detailed regulations.

"The government will issue a regulation detailing the private sector's involvement in the train business. The bill gives only general rules," Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa said in a meeting with the working committee Thursday.

The minister said that despite the bill, the government would remain the main regulator in the railway transportation.

He explained that the government would likely give concessions to national corporations to run monorails and mass rapid transportation in big cities and run special trains to transport coal, fuel and other commodities.

He said that several national companies had proposed setting up special trains in Kalimantan to transport fuel and coals.

PT KA president Ronny Wahyudi hailed the bill, which he said would encourage his company to be more competitive and efficient in the future.

"It is a good plan and will make us healthier. We will work efficiently in order to compete with trains operated by private companies," he said.

Chief of the Federation of International Transport Workers in Jakarta Hanafi Rustandi, however, said that the bill was prone to manipulation.

"The bill will not benefit the public ... therefore there must be room for the public to raise their views on its substance," he said.

Putra said the bill invited national corporations to take part in the train business but they would not be allowed to use infrastructure and networks belonging to the state and PT KA.

"The private sector is invited to invest by establishing their own networks and the tariffs will be decided by the government," he said, adding that the concession would be valid for 35 years and after it expired, all their train businesses would be taken over by the government.

The bill, which will replace the 1992 Railway Operation Law, is one of the four bills being prepared by the government and the House on the management of sea, air and land transportation in Indonesia.

Friday, March 16, 2007

'Greenie' cars to be on parade at this year's premier car show

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

New "environmentally friendly" cars are expected to take center stage at the 15th Indonesian International Motor Show 2007, which will be held in Jakarta from July 20 to 29.

"All the exhibitors have been asked to introduce their environmentally friendly cars so as to fit in with the event's theme," Johnny Dharmawan, the man in charge of the event, told a media briefing Thursday.

The names of the "greenie" cars that will be on display during the show, which will take "Green-Better Living" as its theme, were not available, however.

Jaguar, VW, Daimler, Audi and Volvo are some of the top-of-the-range carmakers that will be exhibiting during the country's premier motor trade event.

However, as happened last year, Germany's BMW will not be taking part in the show, which is organized by the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo).

"Many new models, such as new SUVs and MPVs, will be on show during the event," Johnny said.

Also speaking during the media briefing, Gaikindo chairman Bambang Trisulo said the event had adopted environmentally friendly themes since 2005 so as to help promote awareness of the need to create a better environment.

While in the past two years there had been a lack of enthusiasm on the part of automobile firms about the "green car" concept, he expressed the hope that more environmentally friendly cars would be exhibited this year.

Bambang also said he hoped the annual event would help increase car sales, which declined slightly last month due to the major floods that paralyzed Jakarta.

"We hope that vehicle sales will reach 400,000 this year," Bambang said. Last year, domestic vehicle sales only amounted to 318,904 units (both passenger and commercial vehicles), below the Gaikindo target of 600,000.

With the decline in interest rates, Bambang said he was upbeat that this year's target could be achieved.

Indonesia's vehicle sales reached a record high of 534,000 in 2005.

A total of 5,406 vehicles, with a value of over Rp 1 trillion (US$109.89 million), were sold during last year's motor show.

The event organizer, Dyandra Promosindo, expressed the hope that the value of sales this year would be higher against a backdrop of lower lending rates, given that car purchases in Indonesia are mostly financed by consumer loans.

Some 200,000 people are expected to visit the 10-day show, which will be held at the 35,000-square-meter exhibition arena at the Jakarta Convention Center, Dyandra said.

Indonesia blasted for foot-dragging in New Year's Day jetliner crash probe

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): The Indonesian jet crashed into the sea without issuing a mayday, killing all 102 people on board. Months later its wreckage and in-flight recorders lie on the seabed amid a dispute over who should recover them - a delay that experts saymay jeopardize global air safety.

"I find it impossible to believe that we can have, in the 21st Century, an aviation accident with a modern aircraft and no successful attempt to get the recorder," said Jim Hall, former chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Board.

Hall said it is important to learn if the Boeing 737 - the world's most popular airplane - had structural problems.

Other aviation experts agreed, saying time is running out.

"Saltwater is corrosive, so the longer the 'black boxes' are submerged, the greater the damage potential," said Paul Czysz, a professor emeritus at St. Louis University in the U.S. state of Missouri.

"To one outside the event, it would appear that determining the cause of the crash is not in the forefront of activities," he said.

Indonesia has recently seen a string of plane crashes.

Last week, a Boeing 737 careened off a runway, bursting into flames and killing 21 people.

The month before, a jetliner's fuselage split in half on a hard landing, sending carry-on luggage flying through the cabin but causing no injuries.

Indonesia's government has acknowledged it does not have enough quality personnel or technology to match the needs of its booming aviation sector.

This week, the country's top aviation official was fired. Many believe beleaguered Transport Minister Hatta Rajasa may be next.

Signals from the Adam Air flight recorders, often called "black boxes," have been traced to the ocean floor at a depth of about 1,700 meters (about a mile), but the government lacks the technology to salvage them.

Frans Wenas, head of the ministry's safety committee, said it is up to Adam Air to recover the black boxes from the New Year's Day crash - but at such a depth, it would be costly and difficult.

The budget airline said an agreement with U.S-based Phoenix International fell through after the company failed to guarantee recovery. Negotiations with another firm are now under way, said Capt. Hartono, Adam Air's director of safety and security, who goes by only one name.

"I don't see how any responsible salvage company could guarantee recovery," said Czysz, the aviation expert. "The longer the delay in locating the 'black boxes' the less the possibility they will be located."

Crash investigators have said they believe a mid-air explosion was not the likely cause of the accident because little wreckage was found, suggesting the plane had plunged into the water intact at great speed.

Without data from the flight recorders or the recovery of significant pieces of fuselage, experts say that reaching a definitive conclusion on the cause of the accident will be impossible.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Three-in-one policy soon to be history

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Governor Sutiyoso on Monday said Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) would replace the three-in-one policy, which has been deemed an ineffective means of controlling the traffic.

"So far, with the three-in-one policy, we have raised more problems than money. What's more, motorists flaunt the law," he told reporters at City Hall.

The policy requires motorists passing major streets during peak hours to have two passengers. However, they can always find a shortcut and hire "jockeys" or people they pick up on the roadside for a small fee.

"If the three-in-one policy is ineffective, why shouldn't we replace it with something else?" Sutiyoso said.

He said the government was in the process of studying the ERP system.

"If it were up to me, I'd bring it in immediately," said the governor, implying he would take heed of public opinion and the results of the research.

Sutiyoso said the revenue generated from the ERP would be used to subsidize public transportation so the fares would be lower.

The governor has been defending the three-in-one policy, which was brought in 1992, since he took up his post in 1997.

City transportation agency head Nurahman said the agency was working on the engineering design for the ERP.

"We are also studying the technical aspects to identify the most suitable system for Jakarta. But we are likely to go with the Singaporean system, which uses a pre-paid smart card, because it is much cheaper to operate compared to the systems in London or Hong Kong, and fits with conditions here.

"The study will be finished in a year, so hopefully by the end of the year we'll be able to start building the ERP infrastructure and the trial of the system will start in 2008," Nurahman said.

He said the trial charge zone would be the roads between Blok M, South Jakarta, and Kota, North Jakarta, on which the busway operates.

The ERP system, which is used in a number of countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, England, Germany, Austria and Belgium, requires car owners to purchase an electronic ticket to drive on main thoroughfares in the city during peak hours.

The transportation agency will work together with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and other related stakeholders to develop the system.

Data from ITDP shows that the number of vehicles in Jakarta grows by 11 percent per year. There are more than five million private cars in the city.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New air transport chief says safety top priority

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The new air transportation chief has vowed there will be tough consequences for airlines disregarding safety procedures.

Budhi Muliawan Suyitno, appointed director general for air transportation on Tuesday, said he would rank the safety standards of all airlines in Indonesia.

"We will suspend airlines at the bottom of the list," he said.

Budhi replaced M. Ikhsan in a recent shake-up at the Transportation Ministry after a series of transportation accidents this year. He was previously the ministry's inspector general, a role which Ikhsan now assumes.

Budhi was transportation minister for three months during the administration of president Abdurrahman Wahid.

In addition to ranking the safety standards of airlines, Budhi said he would improve national air transportation safety awareness and upgrade human resources in the regulatory body.

Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa said the reason behind the reshuffle at the ministry was to maximize the performance of officials.

The increase in the number of air passengers in Indonesia should be accompanied by improvements in safety standards, he added.

"Regaining the trust of people regarding air transportation is important," Hatta said.

He said both regulators and operators were obliged to follow recommendations from the National Team for the Evaluation of Transportation Safety and Security.

"The new director general should be given a chance to facilitate significant change. We still have ample room for improvement," team spokesman Oetarjo Diran told The Jakarta Post.

He said that improvements should be made concerning weak regulations, outdated technology and poorly trained human resources.

"Saving lives is the highest priority in the transportation industry. It's more important than saving dollars."

The team, which collected data from local airlines, the Transportation Ministry and state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura, reported their findings on the aviation industry to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday.

"We will present recommendations on other forms of transportation next week," Diran added.

Meanwhile, air traffic control and navigation services will be handled by a single operator, according to Transportation Ministry plans.

Air traffic and navigation services are currently run by different operators. State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I is responsible for large airports in eastern Indonesia, PT Angkasa Pura II for western Indonesia and the Transportation Ministry for smaller airports.

Airworthiness certification director Yurlis Hasibuan said the type of organization to be responsible for air traffic control and navigation had yet to be determined.

"It could be a state-owned company or a public service board," he said during a two-day aviation safety seminar.

Hideo Watanabe, an expert from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, said that investigators in the National Transportation Safety Committee required further training.

Watanabe said training for investigators was important as their findings would be used to improve safety regulations.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Investigators identify last 5 victims of jetliner fire

YOGYAKARTA (Agencies): Forensic experts identified the last five victims of a jetliner that burst into flames as it crash-landed near Yogyakarta city, as investigators pulled charred luggage from the plane's burned-out shell Saturday.

All five were identified as Australians. Their bodies were badly burned, requiring forensic experts to work late into the night to complete the identification.

"Thank God it's over," said Slamet Poernomo, leader of the forensic experts.

A doctor, who was involved in the forensic team, told MetroTV television Friday that from all bodies had been able to be identified Friday, but members of Australian disaster response team wanted to carry out more careful identification.

The crash killed 21 people, while 119 others were able to escape through the exits of the burning Garuda Airlines plane. It overshot a runway in Yogyakarta and skidded into a rice field before exploding into a fireball.

It was the fourth accident involving a commercial jetliner in Indonesia since 2005. Experts say poor maintenance, rule-bending and a shortage of properly trained pilots may contribute to the sprawling country's poor aviation safety record.

Indonesia should be "ashamed," Vice President Yusuf Kalla said Friday, vowing to replace several top Transport Ministry officials. "We will issue stronger regulations and older aircraft will be banned," he said.

The bodies of the Australian victims - three men and two women - will be sent home for burial as soon as death certificates are issued, said Graeme Swift, head of Australia's disaster response team.

Meanwhile, field investigators continued to search through the wreckage, collecting blackened suitcases and burned boxes.

The remaining shell of the Boeing 737-400 was expected to be moved to an airport hangar for further analysis.

"We have to work quickly but carefully," said Joseph Tumenggung, a field investigator.

The cause of Wednesday's crash is still being investigated, and data from the plane's black boxes will be analyzed in Australia.

The pilot said he felt "a very powerful downdraft just before landing," said Capt. Stephanus Geraldus, president of Garuda's pilots' association, referring to a phenomena typically caused by differences in air temperature or pressure.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

BNI, BRI to provide Rp 1.38t for tollway

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

State-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) have signed a loan syndication agreement to partly finance the construction of a 35-kilometer tollway in Java.

Under the agreement, which was signed Friday in Jakarta, the two banks will provide a loan of Rp 1.38 trillion (US$151.65 million) to tollway operator PT Semesta Marga Raya.

"The loan, which is for the construction of a tollway between Kanci in Cirebon, West Java, and Penjagan in Brebes, Central Java, will have a 10-year maturity," BNI president director Sigit Pramono said as quoted by Antara after the signing of the loan facility.

BNI, as the syndicate leader, would provide Rp 897.6 billion, or 65 percent, of the total loan, and BRI the remaining Rp 483.3 billion, or 35 percent, he explained.

The tollway project is part of the government's program to accelerate infrastructural development.

The government had earlier announced an ambitious plan to construct a 1,000-kilometer tolled expressway along the north coast of Java within three years.

The Public Works Ministry and local administrations have already procured the land for the construction of the Kanci-Penjagan tollway.

Semesta, which will construct the Kanci-Penjagan scheme, is 35 percent owned by PT Bakrie Investindo, 25 percent by PT Satria Citra Perkasa, 25 percent by Transglobal Finance Ltd. and 15 percent by Pan Galactic Investment Ltd.

Police seize smuggled bikes

The Jakarta Post

BEKASI: Ten big motorcycles were seized during a series of traffic operations in the municipality in 2006 because the owners failed to produce ownership and vehicle registration documents, police say.

"We suspect the motorcycles were smuggled into the country," Bekasi Police's traffic chief Comr. Bonaparte Silalahi said Friday.

The motorcycles, many of which are starting to rust, are now parked at the police station. They include different models of Harley Davidson, Honda's Shadow Classic and Kawasaki's Vulcan Classic. There are also motorcycles without any brand attached to them.

"They are not made or assembled in the country ... some of them also have fake license plates," Silalahi said.

"The case is now in the hands of the general crimes unit. We will keep the motorcycles as evidence." -- JP

'No Car Day' will be held once a month

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta administration is organizing a series of "No Car Days" in May, barring all private cars from entering certain streets with the aim of promoting the public transportation system.

The Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) said a longer-term goal of the campaign was to clean up the capital's stifling air pollution and ease traffic jams.

"We will only allow public transportation vehicles on the streets. We will also be encouraging people to ride bicycles or take andong (traditional horse-drawn carriages)," Ridwan Panjaitan, the head of the agency's air pollution unit, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The first No Car Day will be held in North Jakarta on May 26 from 6. a.m to 6 p.m. Cars will only be barred from one street. The administration, however, is yet to choose between Jl. Pramuka, Jl. Otista and Jl. DI Panjaitan.

"It will be decided next month by the North Jakarta mayor. The most important thing is the event will be carried out along the most congested road," Ridwan said.

After North Jakarta, other municipalities of the city will take turns putting the concept to the test. Next year, it is hoped No Car Day will be a monthly event in every municipality.

Ridwan said the agency would use mobile stations to monitor air pollution levels seven days prior to and after the event.

"We will compare the readings and announce the results to the public."

Police and other government employees will guard the restricted street during the event.

The administration previously held Car Free Days together with non-governmental organizations.

However, they were only ever held on Sundays in the fast lanes of roads in the city center from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It was reported that pollution levels dropped by 20-30 percent during the last event.

Ridwan said the Car Free Day in North Jakarta would be held on a Saturday to avoid possible disruptions to business activities.

"We still need to get the public behind the event. By next year, I think it's safe to say we'll be holding Car Free Days on working days."

International Car Free Day falls on Sept. 22. The concept was first introduced in France in 1998 but has fast become popular in other countries.

The city's air pollution bylaw requires municipal administrations to hold Car Free Days regularly starting next year.

It also bans smoking in a range of public places, as well as making emissions tests mandatory for private vehicles and requiring public transportation operators to use compressed natural gas.

Violators could face up to six months' jail or a Rp 50 million fine if found guilty.

However, none of the requirements of the bylaw have been properly met due to weak law enforcement.

Jakarta is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

The city recorded only 41 days of "good" air quality last year.

The administration has said the transportation sector contributes up to 70 percent of the air pollution in Jakarta.

There are currently more than 2.5 million private cars, 3.8 million motorcycles and 255,000 public transportation vehicles on city streets every day.

The administration has long been struggling to reduce the influx of private cars into the capital, including by increasing parking fees.

It has pledged to ticket the owners of private cars that do not have an emissions inspection sticker on the windshield, starting June.