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, July 20, 2007

Indonesian motorshow projects more one trillion rupiah in car sales

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesia International Motorshow (IIMS) 2007 held here from July 19 to 28, 2007 is expected to conclude a car sale transaction worth Rp1.005 trillion, the organizers said here on Thursday.

"We hope the car sales during the IIMS 2007, would exceed that of last year," organizing committee chairman Johnny Darmawan, who is also president director of PT Toyota Astra Motor (TAM), said on the sidelines of the IIMS.

He said that last year`s IIMS, held on July 21-30, sold 5,406 cars with a transaction value of Rp1.005 trillion.

Johnny expressed optimism that car sales in this year`s motorshow would exceed that of last year because the national car sales trend this year was significantly moving upward.

In the first semester of 2007 car sales increased 30 percent, reaching almost d 200 thousand units. In the same period last year, car sales only reached 150 thousand units.

"The IIMS is a momentum for us to expand our automotive market, much more as the market is rapidly growing," he added.

He hoped that the car sales would reach 39 thousand units up to July so that sales in August would reach 40 thousand units.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Indonesia asks Saudi Arabia to audit airlines

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Transportation Ministry has invited Saudi Arabia to audit the safety standards of Indonesian airlines following its announcement of plans to adopt a European Union ban on all Indonesian airlines.

"Saudi Arabia wants assurance that the kingdom is doing the right thing by adopting the EU ban," Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang S. Ervan said Tuesday.

"To convince them (otherwise), we have invited Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to do their own audit here."

The Transportation Ministry received Monday a letter from the GACA signed on Sunday by GACA vice president of safety and regulation Mohammed R. Berenji stating that the kingdom planned to adopt the EU ban, and not that it had already banned all Indonesian airlines from entering Saudi Arabia as reported by The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Bambang also said that Saudi Arabia frequently used EU decisions as a reference point, but that "didn't mean (they adopted) all of the EU's policies".

The ban on all Indonesian airlines from entering EU territory took effect on July 6 even though no Indonesian airline currently serves European routes.

Legislator Abdullah Aswar Anas from the House of Representatives' Commission V overseeing transportation affairs, told the Post that the commission members would ask the transportation minister about the issue at their next meeting.

Garuda Indonesia spokesman Pujobroto told the Post that the airline supported the government's plan.

"What they want is to have a dialogue and clarify with the Indonesian government about the safety of Indonesian airlines."

Garuda Indonesia is the only Indonesian airline with routes to Saudi Arabia. Pudjobroto said the airline flew to Jeddah five times a week and to Riyadh three times a week.

Japan and South Korea have recently conducted spot checks on Garuda Indonesia airplanes flying to both countries and declared them safe.

Visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark may give a much needed boost to Indonesian airlines as she will fly on a Garuda Indonesia flight to Yogyakarta from Jakarta this week.

Meanwhile, Bambang said that the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group (ATWG) had invited EU representatives to attend the group's working meeting in Denpasar from July 17 to 20 to discuss issues on Indonesian airline safety.

"We will elaborate on the travel ban and the improvement of local airline safety further with the EU, which is the group's special guest at the meeting," he said.

ATWG will also discuss several civil aviation issues, such as an open-sky policy and multilateral agreements between airlines. The group has also invited partners from outside the region, from India, Japan and the U.S.

Friday, July 13, 2007

RI aviation industry unsafe: Experts

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: The visiting U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found that the growth of Indonesia's aviation industry has not been balanced by the readiness of the regulators, Director General of Air Transportation Budhi M. Suyitno said Thursday.

"Most of the problems concern administrative matters with some technical problems, particularly safety. One is the imbalance between growth and the readiness of its regulators," Budhi said, as quoted by Antara news wires.

The FAA team arrived here several days ago and is spending a month auditing the country's aviation industry, maintenance facilities and the condition of its airports.

All Indonesian carriers have been banned from flying to Europe by the European Commission after a string of accidents.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rp900 Billion for Sidoarjo Infrastructure Repairs

Thursday, 12 July, 2007 | 16:27 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The government has officially proposed the budget for repairing infrastructure ruined by the Lapindo hot mudflows to be Rp900 billion.

The statement was included in the 2007 Revised State Budget Draft and the posts will be the Public Works Department and Transportation Department’s expenditure.

Anggito Abimanyu, Head of Fiscal Policy at Finance Department, explained that such amount of budget was resulted from the estimation of road and railway infrastructure repairs needed.

“Our capability this year is now only Rp900 billion,” he said after a working meeting with the Budget Committee on 2007 Revised State Budget Draft at the Parliament Complex, Jakarta, Tuesday night (11/7).

He acknowledged that actually the need of infrastructure rehabilitation was much higher than Rp900 billion.

“But this is to be discussed later,” said Anggito.

In the 2007 Revised State Budget Draft, he said, for handling the damage due to Lapindo mudflow, the proposal was combined with the Public Works Department’s and Transportation Department’s infrastructure repair program.

The amount of the two departments’ needs totals Rp5 trillion.

The consideration for granting the funds, said Anggito, refers to the aspect of respective regional economic interests.

This is because infrastructure is a vital matter as regards regional economic support.

“For Lapindo (case), this is special for infrastructure. For the others, there’s none,” he said.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the funds for infrastructure rehabilitation due to the Lapindo mudflows is what caused the 2007 budget’s deficit to soar from Rp40.5 trillion, or from 1.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Rp62 trillion or 1.6 percent of GDP.

“Infrastructure repairs in Sidoarjo are very urgent for moving the economy so the allocation must be included in the 2007 Revised State Budget Draft,” she said.

Infrastructure repairs in Sidoarjo include the Porong-Gempol toll road, non-toll artery roads and railways.

Anton Aprianto | Rieka Rahadiana

Automobile sales jump 60% in June

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post) : Domestic vehicle sales increased by 60 percent to 39,423 in June from 24,566 in the same month last year.

The increase was in line with semester-to-semester sales growth of 32 percent to 197,320 units in the first semester of the year compared with 149,634 during the same period of 2006, said Toyota Astra Motor president director Johnny Darmawan on Wednesday.

"This increase indicates an improvement in Indonesia's economy," he said.

Toyota still led the market with a 33.8 percent share in June. It sold 13,307 vehicles during the month, an increase of 54 percent from 8,646 units in the same month last year.

Its first-semester sales, however, rose by only 11 percent to 69,092 units from 61,805 in the January-June period of 2006.

Automotive firms sold a total of 318,884 vehicles in Indonesia last year. Johnny said that he was optimistic the number would increase to around 410,000 in 2007.

Organda, weather agency recruited for transportation safety campaign

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Transportation Ministry says it will include the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) and the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) in its land and sea transportation safety campaign.

"Our program now involves suppressing the number of transportation accidents over all modes of transportation," said Transportation Minister Jusman S. Djamal on Wednesday.

Speaking to the media after a meeting with House legislators on transportation affairs, Jusman said the ministry would collaborate with Organda in managing land transportation.

"Stricter monitoring of the implementation of transportation regulations will have to be applied. We don't want a bus to endanger the lives of people because it has no brakes or runs with slippery tires," the minister said, referring to a fatal bus accident last Saturday.

The brakes on the speeding bus carrying school children in Cianjur regency, West Java, failed before the vehicle careered off a bridge, killing 16.

"Although it hasn't been reported much in the media, there have been many efforts from (the ministry) to improve land transportation safety. In many areas, we also collaborate with the police," Jusman said.

Efforts to improve land transportation safety have included a focus on qualitative rather than quantitative credentials in selecting shuttle bus operators for routes to and from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Qualitative criteria for the upcoming airport route tender include the ability to provide good, cheap services to passengers and pass gas emission and vehicle age tests.

Jusman added that monitoring adherence to safety measures by sea transportation operators is easier than for land transportation operators as harbor captains watch over operations at sea.

"To improve sea transportation, we will collaborate with BMG for morning weather warnings. If there are huge waves of about four to six meters high, the agency will report to us in the morning," he said.

Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI) chairman Bambang Susantono told The Jakarta Post that collaboration with other organizations in gathering secondary data was normal practice in foreign governments.

"Data from other sources is important to prevent accidents from occurring," he said.

Bambang said accident prevention, or "active safety measures", can be difficult to orchestrate because they often involve multiple organizations. "The first step to take is to identify possible aspects of accidents before constructing such prevention methods."

The transportation society believes that the long-term goal of active safety should be balanced with short-term passive safety goals. The challenge, according to MTI, is in coordination and organizational management itself.

Fuel shortage hits Jambi city

JAMBI (The Jakarta Post), Jambi province: A fuel shortage has affected Jambi city, the capital of Jambi province, for the past four days, resulting in long lines at the city's gas stations.

The shortage has seen the retail price of gasoline soar from Rp 4,500 (50 US cents) per liter to Rp 6,000.

"The fuel shortage is the result of a 50 percent cut in fuel supplies to all gas stations in the city," Kadir, the manager of the Kebunjeruk gas station, said Wednesday.

He said his station, which normally receives a supply of 40 tons of gas per day, is now only getting 20 tons.

The gas sells out within hours, he said.

Head of the Kasang fuel depot owned by state oil company Pertamina, Adnan Zhodhy, said there had been delivery delays from the depot to gas stations in Jambi because of the low water level of the Batanghari River.

Boats used to transport the fuel are unable to berth near the depot, he said.

Jakarta moves on deep-tunnel project

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post) : Governor Sutiyoso briefed Vice President Jusuf Kalla Wednesday over the planned deep tunnel project aimed at resolving chronic water and transportation problems in the capital.

"If the government agrees with the project, we will start construction next year," he told reporters after the meeting.

He said that the 22-kilometer tunnel would also solve flooding in the capital.

"Seeing the many functions of the tunnel, we will push the central government so that the project can be realized," he said.

According to the project designed by the Jakarta Water Supply Regulatory Body, the tunnel, with a diameter of 12 meters, will be built 15 meters below the West Flood Canal from Jl. MT Haryono in East Jakarta to Muara Angke in West Jakarta.

The administration will then construct two levels of roads in the tunnel as well as waste water reservoirs.

Above the roads, the tunnel will be used as a utility duct.

Sutiyoso has briefed members of the House of Representatives and the City Council on the project.

Administration, busway 'violated agreement'

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Trans Batavia, one of the companies in a consortium that supplies buses for the Jakarta busway, complained Wednesday over the commitment of the city administration and the busway managing company, Jakarta Express Trans.

Trans Batavia president director, Azis Rismaya Mahfud, said the company had provided buses as the administration requested but Jakarta Express Trans was operating only a few of them.

"As a result, passengers have to wait in line too long for buses and commuter lines aren't easing," he told reporters in a conference.

Trans Batavia provides the busway buses, while Jakarta Express Trans manages the daily operations of the busway.

Trans Batavia had provided a total of 126 buses as of April for lines II and III, which respectively connect Harmoni, in Central Jakarta to Pulo Gadung, in East Jakarta, and Kalideres, in West Jakarta to Harmoni.

Jakarta Express Trans were meant to allocate 55 buses to line II and 71 buses to line III, but it currently operates only 42 buses in each line, said Trans Batavia operational director Jabes Sihombing.

"Jakarta Express Trans instead has allocated 13 of our buses to line IV and 15 to line VII, to compensate for bus shortages in those lines," Jabes said. "This violates an agreement we made."

According to Jabes, each Trans Batavia bus travels a distance of 165 kilometers per day, but the contract between the administration and Jakarta Express Trans stipulates each Trans Batavia bus must travel at least 290-300 kilometers daily.

"As a result, we suffer losses of around 40-45 percent."

Line IV connects Pulo Gadung to Dukuh Atas, in Central Jakarta and line VII links East Jakarta's Kampung Rambutan to Kampung Melayu.

Azis said Jakarta Express Trans had been operating their buses to overload capacity, despite the fact it had a sufficient number of buses.

Based on the manufacturer's recommendations, each bus should carry a maximum of 85 passengers, he said. Both the administration and Jakarta Express Trans had agreed each bus would have a 60-passenger maximum.

"But in fact, almost every bus carries around 100 to 125 passengers. In addition to long passenger lines, this in turn has also caused damage to the buses."

Jabes blamed both the administration and Jakarta Express Trans for citing budget limitations as excuses for not operating buses as required under the contract.

"Jakarta Express Trans have also delayed their payments since February, not only to Trans Batavia, but also to the other bus suppliers -- Jakarta Trans Metropolitan and Jakarta Mega Trans," he said.

"The administration could have used an emergency fund to pay us, but it chose not to."

Jabes said delayed payments caused Jakarta Trans Metropolitan and Jakarta Mega Trans to pay their employees half of their monthly wages.

"Petross, our gas supplier, stopped supplying us with fuel on June 21-22 due to delayed payments."

Jakarta Express Trans daily operational head, Anton, said it never delayed payments to any bus company and refused further comments.

City secretary, Ritola Tasmaya, also refused to comment when contacted by The Jakarta Post, saying Governor Sutiyoso would reveal any progress next week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Airline bans a temporary setback, says official

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The ban on all Indonesian airlines by the European Commission is a temporary setback for the country's aviation sector, but a necessary one should Indonesia wish to improve its air safety record, an official says.

On July 6, the European Commission (EC) banned all Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe due to distrust caused by the country's poor aviation safety record.

"The international public will appreciate our efforts to be open about our airline safety problems," director general for air transportation at the Transportation Ministry, Budhi M. Suyitno, told reporters during a break in a meeting with the House of Representatives Commission V for transportation affairs on Monday.

The EC declared the ban after the government announced the results of an audit of 20 domestic airlines in March. The audit showed that not one domestic airline was in full compliance with safety regulations at that time.

However, a second audit in June found Garuda Indonesia to be fully compliant with international aviation safety regulations.

The Indonesian government said it regretted the EC's decision and that the ban was unfair because the commission did not send a team to clarify the findings or give the Indonesian government a chance to explain its position.

"We are disappointed with this decision. Actually, if the commission had given us a chance to talk about this matter, they would not have banned the Indonesian airlines," Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal told reporters after the meeting.

He added that his ministry had designed several programs to improve the quality of air transportation, which would include upgrading airport facilities.

The ministry is proposing a Rp 15.5 trillion (US$1.72 billion) budget for 2008, a 50 percent increase from Rp 10.5 trillion, to build better facilities for airports, including air and land infrastructure, flight surveillance radars and flight communication, navigational and landing assistance tools.

Most House members have blamed the ban on the government's decision to announce the results of the airlines' audit to the public, insisting it has "boomeranged" on the Indonesian government.

"It's the government itself who caused this problem," Enggartiasto Lukita from the Golkar Party said.

He said that when it comes to aviation, there can be no compromise on safety standards, and reiterated the House's stance that the government should not have announced the airlines' audit results.

"It is the routine inspection which matters the most," he said.

Sumaryoto from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said it was the right move for the government to audit the nation's airlines, but not to announce the results.

"The results of the audit should have been used as input for the airlines, the result should not have been made public," he said.

He said the European ban could have both political and economic impacts on Indonesia.

The ban will likely also have an impact on Indonesia's tourism sector, despite there having been no flights linking Indonesia with European Union cities since Garuda canceled services to Amsterdam in 2004.

Between 600,000 and 800,000 European tourists visit the country every year.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Agency disciplines public minivans

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post) : The Jakarta Transportation Agency has launched an operation to improve the discipline of drivers of public buses and minivans.

Supported by municipality transportation sub-agencies and public order officers, a series of raids that began on June 21 has seen more than 100 minivans impounded.

The minivans are currently being held at a transportation agency pool in Cakung, East Jakarta.

"The number of minivans and buses still being held has gone down from the 163 that were held at the start of the operation," a transportation official in East Jakarta, HS Budiyono, said last week.

"The rest have been released to the owners or cases have been taken to court."

Budi said the minivan drivers whose vehicles were temporarily held had violated parking rules, failed to present ownership papers or had illegally used busway lanes.

The agency is still conducting raids in areas prone to traffic violations, such as East Jakarta's Cawang, Klender and Pulogadung.

Triple-seven bike race a lucky strike for environment

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Haven't had any luck in warning the public about global warming? Try throwing an event on a date deemed to be the luckiest in a millennium.

State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar promoted commuting by bike to raise public awareness to combat global warming, making use of Saturday's momentous 'lucky date'.

A seven-kilometer bicycle ride began at 7 a.m. on July 7, 2007, at Istora Senayan sports complex, South Jakarta

Through the fun bike event, followed by an afternoon music concert, the minister and his wife Erna Witoelar, who is also a former minister for the environment, reminded people how they could help reduce global warming.

"Biking is fun and exhilarating... and is an alternative, clean form of transportation that emits no greenhouse gases," Rachmat told The Jakarta Post after the event.

Hundreds of people from the Bike to Work (B2W) community joined the event.

In Greater Jakarta there are currently around 5,000 members of the B2W group, which was established last year.

"I appreciate the B2W program. We need this kind of program to help save the environment," he said.

The minister also urged building managers and government offices to set aside special parking lots for bicycles, to help encourage more workers to leave their cars and motorcycles at home.

B2W spokesman, Rivo Pamudji, said despite owning motorcycles or cars many B2W members chose to ride their bicycles to their offices every day.

"If each member travels 10 kilometers a day, then the community of B2W has significantly helped reduce fuel consumption and helped reduce the city's air pollution," he said.

Jakarta consumes at least 6 million kiloliters of fuel per year.

There are only around 10 buildings in Jakarta that have allocated special parking lots for bicycles.

Rivo also highlighted the need for the administration to provide a special lane for cyclists along Jakarta's streets.

Bekasi-resident Tonny Harianto, another B2W member, has been pedaling to work in Cikini, Central Jakarta, since last year.

"With three bike-to-work days a week along a route of 50 kilometers, I save Rp 300,000 in fuel expenditure per month and I often save time," Tonny, who only takes his motorcycle on Tuesdays and Thursdays, said.

He said biking had also helped him reduce his body weight by 15 kilograms over one year.

"I previously weighed 80 kg. I couldn't even bend down and tie my shoes," he said.

"Aside from saving money and getting some exercise, bicycling can also ease traffic congestions and pollution."

Experts say human-induced global warming is largely due to the burning of fossil-based fuels -- including by industries and the transportation sector.

Land clearing and forest fires also contribute heavily to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which heat the earth and cause climate change.

The government is striving to boost public awareness on global warming, as it is set to host an international conference on climate change in December.

Some 10,000 experts and participants from 190 countries will attend the conference.

Singapore Tiger Airways enters Australia

Gold Coast (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - The Singapore-based budget carrier Tiger Airways has sparked an all-out airfare war in Australia's domestic market, by announcing a new range of cut-price fares.

Tiger Airways chief executive Tony Davis said the carrier had invested in Australia for the "long haul" and promised consistent, cheap fares for consumers in the face of competition from Jetstar and Virgin.

A subsidiary of international carrier Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways announced today direct routes from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Mackay, starting on November 23. A one-way ticket from Melbourne to the Gold Coast will cost $A49.95 ($US42.79), with the other routes costing $59.95.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Lawmakers debate empowerment of airline cabin crew

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Lawmakers from the House of Representatives transportation commission have pledged legal protection for airline cabin crew to help them play a greater role in ensuring safety and security.

"Airline cabin crew have been overlooked regarding their role, be it before or during a flight. We need a comprehensive law that will give them greater rights and increase their role in assisting passengers for increased safety and security," legislator Abdullah Azwar Anas from House Commission V told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

"We are still taking an inventory of all the problems ... We will include points on cabin crew precautionary measures against potential terrorist acts in the draft law (on aviation)," he said.

Anas' comments followed the recent ban imposed by the European Union on Indonesian airlines flying to Europe, which cited safety concerns.

Commission V is currently deliberating the aviation bill and is meeting with several key people in the industry.

"The articles (of the bill) have already laid out the foundation for safety, but they need improvement and further elaboration," said Anas, who is from the National Awakening Party.

Earlier, Garuda Indonesia Flight Attendants Union secretary-general Dewi Anggraini said attendants had to be focused more on professionalism, not just good looks.

"We need legal protection to (be able to) take assertive precautionary measures, such as tackling terrorists on board before they act," Dewi told a hearing with the commission Thursday.

Anas said cabin crew needed better legal protection in the areas of insurance and maximum working hours in order to allow them to take better care of passenger safety.

"On many local air carriers several crucial items have yet to be covered by (crew) insurance. Minor injuries, such as sprained ankles, are neglected here and there, but that's important," he said.

The trend toward local "no-frills" low-cost carriers should not mean abandoning the rights of the crew, he added.

"The number of Indonesian air travelers keeps increasing. But many of the passengers are still uneducated so the crew need to be more skillful."

Another commission member, Rendi Lamajido from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, said the success of the civil aviation sector also depended on the performance of cabin crew.

"There should be a law regulating maximum working hours because this is related to (a crew's) overall well-being," he said. "The House thinks many airlines are able to make their crew work longer because there has yet to be a strict limitation on maximum hours worked."

Garuda Indonesia Cabin Crew Association (IKAGI) chairman Zainudin Malik said earlier that to improve safety, the amended aviation law should include rules on how a cabin crew should prioritize helping passengers in the event of an accident.

"There should be a sanctions if we fail to do it. Many countries have already adopted this practice," Malik said.

14 killed in school holiday bus crash

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

At least 14 people, including a two-year-old infant, died when a bus carrying junior high school students on a tour trip plunged into a river in Ciloto village in Cipanas district, West Java, on Saturday.

Forty-eight others were injured in the accident.

The Limas bus was carrying a group from Ar-Ridho junior high school in Jati Mulya, Depok, when the crash occurred in Hanjawar hamlet at around 10:30 a.m.

The students, who were on their school vacation, were on their way to a tour of Cibodas park in Cianjur, West Java.

The bus reportedly collided with a motorcycle and car before falling off the 30-meter-high bridge into the 10-meter-deep river.

According to Cianjur traffic police chief Adj. Comr. Basuki, the accident was caused by a malfunctioning brake on the bus, news website reported.

The dead and injured were taken to Cimacan hospital in Cipanas.

Of the 48 people injured in the accident, the 22 who suffered serious injuries were then referred to Hasan Sadikin hospital in Bandung.

At the hospital, some parents were overcome with emotion on seeing their dead and injured children.

Sadih, 38, broke into tears upon seeing her son Denny Septian Hakim, who received head injuries.

But Sadih said she was grateful her son had escaped relatively unharmed. She said she was surprised Denny escaped with his life, after seeing the bus wreck below the bridge, reported.

The head of the Ar-Ridho Islamic Education Foundation which runs the school, Anssurullah, said the main priority after the accident was to make sure the injured were removed from overloaded Cimacan hospital.

The accident caused long traffic delays near Puncak before traffic was shifted to alternative routes in the area.

Asia leads growth in air freight demand

By EMMIE V. ABADILLA, Manila Bulletin

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released traffic results for May that showed 5.5 percent growth in year-on-year international passenger demand.

Growth in freight demand rose to 5.0 percent (up sharply from 2.8 percent in April). This was the largest increase since September 2006. Average load factors remained strong at 73.7 percent, up 0.1 percent year-on-year.

"The pick-up in freight, led by Asia, could be the first sign of strengthening demand," according to Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

"Over the next months, we will be closely watching the impact of several changing conditions, including intensifying competition from other modes of transport and structural changes such as manufacturers producing lighter goods," he explained.

"On the passenger side, growth has stabilized while strong competition is keeping load factors high even as carriers aggressively expand international routes to take advantage of some liberalizing markets," Bisignani added.

Airlines in the Middle East saw the strongest passenger demand growth in May with a 19.6 percent increase that also boosted load factors to 70.8 percent.

African airlines recorded demand growth of 11.2 percent, driven by improved regional economic performance and growing links with Asia and the Middle East. Latin American airlines showed the first demand growth in a year with a 4.2 percent increase, following airline restructuring.

RI not to stop tourism promotion in Europe despite flight ban

Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government will not stop promoting its tourism industry to Europe despite the European Union banning all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to the region, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said.

"We will not stop tourism promotion in Europe," he said here Saturday.

He said European tourists were divided in responding to the ban on the Indonesian airlines flying to the 27-nation block.

Some European tourists were frightened at the ban, while others wanted to visit Indonesia despite the ban, he said.

"If they are looking forward to visiting Indonesia, they will definitely do so," he said.

He said the ban would certainly have an adverse impact on the number of tourist arrivals, particularly those from Europe to Indonesia. "Of course there will be impact. European tourists will certainly be disturbed," he said.

On average, 700 thousand European tourists visited Indonesia every year, he said. "The number will likely decline due to the flight ban," he said.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

RI gets support in EU air squabble

Abdul Khalik and Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has received the backing of a global aviation body for negotiations with the European Commission to lift its ban on Indonesian airlines flying to the 27-nation bloc.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) president Roberto Kobeh Gonzales said Thursday in Jakarta that Indonesia was on the right track to improving its air safety standards, and that the ban might have resulted from "misinformation".

"We hope that they can get more transparent information on what Indonesia is doing with its aviation industry. And the best way to solve this problem is through negotiations," he said.

Transportation Minister Jusman Syafei Djamal had said the government would seek to hold talks with the EC regarding its decision Wednesday to ban all Indonesian airlines from the bloc.

Gonzales was speaking to the media after inspecting an aircraft maintenance hangar run by national flag-carrier PT Garuda Indonesia near the capital Jakarta.

Aircraft belonging to Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Adam Air and Merpati were among those parked around the hangar, while foreign aircraft included ones operated by Air Atlanta, Icelandic, Air Asia, Saudi Arabian Airlines and China Southern.

"I think the facility is good. They have so many customers from around the world, that means that they are good," Gonzales commented.

Indonesia signed an agreement with the ICAO on Monday to improve air safety standards so as to bring them up to an international level.

Meanwhile, the Australian Embassy in Jakarta announced that Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had confirmed that a series of spot checks carried out on Garuda so far this year had not identified any major problems.

The embassy said that the results of the checks echoed Australian Prime Minister John Howard's statement this week that the federal government had no plans to ban Garuda from Australia.

It also said that senior Australian and Indonesian transportation officials had met in Bali to discuss details of how Australia's Rp 178 billion transport safety assistance package for Indonesia would be utilized.

The head of Australia's delegation in Bali, Transport Deputy Susan Page, said that the assistance program would allow for training and technical cooperation with Indonesia to address priority aviation and maritime transportation safety challenges.

Meanwhile, visiting Belgian Minister of the Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade, and Science Policy Marc Verwilghen expressed hope that the fight ban would be lifted soon.

"The decision was made by the EC, not the individual members. But once the ban is lifted, we would be very eager to establish direct flights from Belgium to Jakarta to boost trade," he told The Jakarta Post.

Japan satisfied with Garuda`s Air safety standard

Tokyo (ANTARA News) - Japan`s Civil Aviation Bureau (CAB) said a Garuda Indonesia GA-881 plane can continue to fly to the Japanese destinations following its spot checks carried out on the plane over the weekend.

"The CAB`s inspection team is satisfied with the air safety standards of Garuda planes," Arif Wibowo, Garuda Regional Manager for Japan, China, Korea and the United States, said Saturday.

The results of the spot checks suggested that Japan differed from the European Union (EU) about the air safety standards of Garuda planes, he said.

The spot checks came nearly a week after the EU`s aviation experts issued a recommendation for the 27-nation block to ban all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to the region, citing unsafe flights as a reason.

Japan is the second country that believes Indonesian airlines remain airworthy.

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta said this week that Australia`s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had confirmed that a series of spot checks carried out on Garuda so far this year had not identified any major problems.

N Nakamura, who led the spot checks on the Garuda plane on Friday (July 6) said the Indonesian flag-carrier was highly committed to complying with air safety and security regulations.

It took a day for the CAB`s inspection team to carry out the spot checks on the Garuda plane serving the Tokyo-Denpasar-Jakarta route.

Given the results of spot checks, Japan had no reason to ban its citizens from using Indonesian airlines, Arif said.

Ban on RI`s flights to EU not to affect airborne-exports

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The ban on Indonesian airlines` flights to the European Union (EU) will have no impact on the country`s airborne-exports to the region as exporters have so far used foreign airlines, an executive said.

"So far, we have used foreign airlines` services," Chief of the Indonesian Exporters Association Benny Soetrisno said here Friday.

Benny said many exporters had used foreign airlines since the national flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia ceased its scheduled flights to European destinations a few years ago.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Indonesian Furniture Producers Association (Asmindo) Ambar Tjahjono feared that the ban would reduce the number of Europeans going to Indonesia to buy their products, and this situation may eventually reduce furniture exports to Europe.

"The impact may be felt in the next few months," he said.

He said furniture buyers used to visiting the factories to see for themselves the products they would buy.

The ban will become official when the European Commission endorses its experts` recommendation on July 6 by adding the Indonesian airlines to EU`s list of unsafe airline companies.

The EU is Indonesia`s fourth biggest market for its exports after Japan, the United States and Singapore.

Last year, Indonesia`s exports to the region reached US$1.07 billion.

Friday, July 6, 2007

EU to send aviation experts to RI

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The European Union (EU) will soon send a team of aviation experts to Indonesia to make a comprehensive assessment of the country`s flight safety, the union`s envoy said.

The EU earlier held a meeting with the Indonesian Transportation Ministry to discuss its ban on 51 Indonesian airlines to fly to Europe. At the meeting, the Indonesian government had called on the EU to review its ban, EU Ambassador Jean Breteche said here Friday.

At the Indonesian government`s request, the EU would soon send a few of its aviation experts to Indonesia, he said.

"Since the request was made only recently, I cannot say when exactly the experts will come. But surely, they will come in the near future, not later than in three months," he said.

Breteche said the EU was likely to review the ban in three months` time after the ministry had made the request.

The European aviation experts` findings in the field and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)`s recommendation would serve as the basis for the EU to decide whether or not it would lift the ban, he said.

This did not mean that the EU would not consider changes or developments in the country`s flight safety, he said.

"We are fully aware of the national airlines` efforts to improve themselves, for instance, Garuda," he said.

It must be realized that the ban was one of the ways to press the Indonesian government to pay serious attention to flight safety, he said.

The decision to ban all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe was not made all of a sudden because the EU, through its Directorate General for Energy and Transportation, had on April 16 written a letter to the Transportation Ministry for consultations with Indonesian authorities, he said.

However, the Indonesian government had yet to respond to it, he added.

The EU sent another letter on the same subject to the Indonesian authorities on May 21, and to each of the Indonesian airlines on May 30, he said.

It was not until June 22 that the European Commission called a meeting in Brussels with representatives of the Directorate General of Air Communication by issuing a recommendation to ban Indonesian airlines from flying to the region, he said.

The ban will become official when the commission endorses the recommendation on July 6 by adding the Indonesian airlines to the EU`s list of unsafe airlines.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Yudhoyono wants private sector in railway business

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on the private sector to invest in the rail industry as part of efforts to rejuvenate the country's shabby railway network.

"Following the passage of the rail transportation law, I call on the private sector to take part in revitalizing the national rail industry," Yudhoyono said in a speech to open the double-track railway linking Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta and Serpong in Banten.

Yudhoyono also asked the private sector to make the maximum use of the homegrown technology.

The House of Representatives endorsed in March a controversial rail transportation bill which allowed the private sector to take part in the rail industry.

The law stipulated the private sector, including multinational corporations, was allowed to participate, along with the state-owned PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), in providing rail transportation and the manufacture of supporting facilities.

The law required the government to issue a regulation on the detailed participation of the private sector in the rail industry.

Yudhoyono said given rail transportation's massive appeal, the Transportation Ministry should improve its overall safety standards.

He called on PT KAI to maintain and refurbish old carriages as part of efforts to reach a target of zero-accidents.

The newly-inaugurated double track has been under construction since August last year and cost the central government Rp 320 billion (US$35.3 million).

The project included the construction of a 24-kilometer double-track; rebuilding five stations, two substations and 12 bridges; and compensating the owners of semi-permanent houses demolished along the route.

The double track would see up to 178 trips and would carry more than 55,000 passengers a day. Previously the track carried 89 trips.

The Transportation Ministry put the Serpong double-track project on a priority list of infrastructure projects in 2006, along with the Pasoso-Tanjung Priok route and the Manggarai-Bekasi double-track.

The Serpong-Tanah Abang route would become the pilot project for a modern railway network in the country.

All stations along the route, also known as the green line, would use an electronic ticketing system.

After the inauguration ceremony, Yudhoyono took part in the maiden trip of the economy class electric train, Ciujung.

Tickets for the economy class train, which has air conditioning, are more expensive than tickets for regular economy class services.

PT KAI said it planned to import 160 electric train cars this year from Japan and would build more tracks to serve commuters in Greater Jakarta and surrounding areas.

Currently, 65 trains serve nearly 500,000 commuters in the city every day.

Busway lane misuse gives police and transportation agency grief

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city police and the Jakarta Transportation Agency will hold regular joint operations to catch traffic offenders, especially those misusing busway lanes.

The decision was made during a forum held at City Hall on Tuesday, following a dispute between traffic police and transportation agency officers over the misuse of busway lanes by regular vehicles during traffic jams.

The forum included the city administration, City Council, the police, the transportation agency and the Jakarta military command.

City secretary Ritola Tasmaya said the joint operation would also involve military police officers.

"Basically, officers from the local military command, military police and the transportation agency will help catch traffic offenders, but it is only the police who have the authority to issue traffic infringement tickets," he told reporters.

He said the forum participants agreed that regular vehicles should not be allowed to use busway lanes except in "emergency" situations.

Jakarta Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Rajiman Tarigan said the police would no longer consider traffic congestion as an emergency situation.

"Flooding is an example of an emergency situation where motorists may pass through busway lanes," he said.

Last week the traffic police and transportation agency officers came to heads after traffic police allowed regular motorists to use the busway lane on Jl. Letjen Suprapto, Central Jakarta, to escape traffic congestion.

The transportation agency officers in charge of monitoring busway lanes issued the motorists with tickets. Angry drivers vandalized the officers' car parked nearby.

Seven transportation agency officers and several drivers were questioned as witnesses by the Central Jakarta police precinct following the incident.

Governor Sutiyoso objected to the questioning of his officers, arguing they were only conducting their duty monitoring the traffic in accordance with a 2003 bylaw on city traffic.

He said he was the one who had ordered officers from the transportation agency to monitor busway lanes due to the insufficient number of police officers overseeing the lanes.

He recommended a clear division of responsibilities between the traffic police and the transportation agency.

Old and diesel-fueled cars fail mandatory emissions testing

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

According to emissions testing conducted recently in the capital, cars operated on diesel or of an older model are most likely to be harming the environment.

Tests supervised by the Jakarta Environment Management Board (BPLHD) in June found that 178 cars out of 512 tested produced an unsuitable level of emissions. Over half of these cars were diesel-fueled.

"We are still trying to establish whether or not higher emissions are caused by poor diesel quality," Yusiono Anwar, head of the BPLHD's air pollution control unit told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Diesel sold around the country has a sulfur content of 3,500 particles per meter (ppm) according to data from the State Ministry for the Environment. This is far higher than the maximum level of 500 ppm set by Euro II's standard of emissions, which was adopted in Jakarta early this year.

Euro II also requires all cars to use a catalytic converter designed to control the amount of pollution emitted from their exhaust systems.

Toll road operator PT Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada (CMNP) randomly tested the emission levels of 186 private cars traveling on the Sedyatmoko toll road to Tanjung Priok last month.

The tests found that 134 cars met the city's emissions requirements.

"Seventy percent of the cars tested were new. Four cars produced before 1985 failed the test," Darmawan Sembiring of the BPLHD said.

Other random testing was conducted near the South Jakarta Municipality Office last week. Of 326 cars tested, 115 were diesel-fueled and over 40 percent failed to meet the emissions standard.

Emissions testing became mandatory for all private cars in Jakarta after a bylaw was passed on air pollution in 2005.

The bylaw requires private cars to be tested twice a year.

Public transportation vehicles including trucks and busses also must be tested under the regulation.

However, many public transport vehicles in the city continue to produce thick exhaust fumes.

More than 2.5 million private vehicles hit the city's streets every day, many of them from outside Jakarta.

The draft of a gubernatorial decree on emissions testing stipulates that all private cars traveling in the capital, including in Bekasi, Depok, Tangerang and Bogor, must comply with emissions standards set by Jakarta's administration.

The administration has pledged to fully enforce emissions testing by September.

Yusiono said routine maintenance on engines can reduce the level of emissions produced by private cars.

Ministry tests land transport services

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A nationwide suitability and safety examination of land transportation vehicles conducted last month has revealed that most violations occur within inter-city transportation services, with vehicles often transgressing their designated routes.

The next most frequent violation involved vehicles operating without appropriate documents, the examination results show.

"Eventually, we'd like our land transportation vehicles to be safer for everybody," Directorate General for Land Transportation spokesman Djoko Sulastono told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

"Using other routes besides the permitted ones to pick up passengers means there is a strong demand for services in those areas. Such violations were committed by inter-province, inter-city, tourist and charter buses." he said.

To date, 3,318 vehicles have been examined.

Djoko said the directorate general focused specifically on examining inter-province transportation services, from which 161 vehicles were stopped.

"Around 71 percent of inter-province buses stopped for the examination had used routes other than the ones permitted and traveled without complete documents. Nearly 30 percent of them lacked legal proof of passing the transportation tests and have incomplete emergency equipment."

The directorate has so far received examination results from eight provinces -- Jakarta, Banten, Central Java, East Java, West Sumatra, North Sulawesi, East Kalimantan and Riau -- and is waiting for further data from other provincial administrations.

Violators received sanctions ranging from reprimands to the revocation of their operating licenses for individual vehicles. "Those who use illicit documents or drop their passengers before reaching their final destination will instantly have their permits revoked."

The directorate noted there were 65 companies and individuals caught violating transportation rules.

"We also have other routine examinations at local terminals across the country besides the simultaneous checking," he said.

The Indonesian Transportation Society believes that land transportation business demands are the reason behind the problem, with individual bus drivers bound to fare targets for their designated routes in order to meet company targets.

Transportation observer from Gadjah Mada University Heru Sutomo told the Post the government should spend more time helping existing transportation operators improve their efficiency rather than holding operations examinations.

"The trend with the local land transportation (sector) is that its market share has been going down over the years." During the 1980s, 55 percent of the population traveled by means of land transportation, whereas in the 2000-2001 period the figure slumped to 38 percent, Heru added.

"The government neglected this fact so I think the result of the examination would only get worse. There really should be more coherent guidance from the top."

This guidance, he said, could come in the form of encouragement from the government for small transportation operators to merge. An example of this, he added, is the TransJakarta Busway system initiated by the Jakarta city administration.

RI, Aussie forge cooperation in improving performance of flight regulators

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Australia forged a cooperation on a Rp178 billion transportation safety assistance program to improve flight safety.

"The program will be focused on efforts to improve the performance of regulators, managers, safety investigators and flight operators in Indonesia," Susan Page, chairwoman of a visiting Australian delegation to a strategic summit on flight safety in Indonesia, said here on Wednesday.

In a press release issued by the Australian embassy here on Wednesday, Page said the Rp178 billion aid package will in three years be prioritized on efforts to overcome heavy safety challenges of air and sea transportation in Indonesia.

A change in supervision and transportation safety services in Indonesia is part of practical steps to be taken, said Page who is in Indonesia to attend the flight safety meeting this week.

"The outcome of an assessment on transportation safety by the Indonesian government and the International Civil Aviation Organization will be used in a working program we are trying to develop and this information will be followed by a joint workshop in Indonesia in next few months," Page said.

On the sidelines of a meeting in Bali this week, officials of the two countries` transportation services discussed how the aid package could be used.

In the meantime, Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer warmly welcomed the news on the progress reached in the Bali meeting in identifying objects that could be the subject of the aid target.

"The Australian transportation institution has cooperated closely with Indonesia as its partner in the past few years including a program funded by Australia, valued at A$1.1 million (Rp7 billion) in the 2006-2007 period. At least 340 Indonesian flight safety officials have been trained in international standards," he said.

Earlier, Chairman of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) Rusdi Kirana said the focus of his side`s recommendation was on improvement in quality and quantity of flight personnel in anticipation of the ASEAN aviation liberalization (Open Sky) in 2008.

Govt told to promote aviation industry mergers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

With safety concerns now haunting the nation's aviation sector, which could in the end have a serious impact on tourism, the government should consider a drastic restructuring of the industry by promoting mergers so as to improve safety standards, a forum was told Tuesday.

Aviation observer Dudi Sudibyo told the forum, which was organized by the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies Association (ASITA), that Indonesia must learn from other countries in restricting the number of major airlines, but expanding the number of commuter airlines, in order to improve service quality.

The forum was held in light of a likely ban by the European Union on Indonesian airlines flying to Europe. The European Commission (EC) is now studying the issue and will announce its decision July 6.

"We need only a few major airlines, but more commuter flights linking the whole country.

"China used to have a lot of major airlines, but after a series of crashes in the 1990s, they reduced the number of airline companies to three, and now they are among the best in the world," Dudi said.

He added that Indonesia might need only five major airlines, pointing out that China's three major airlines carried up to 250 million passengers a year.

Indonesia's 25 airlines, by comparison, could carry only about six million passengers a year.

Indonesia's aviation industry has come under the spotlight lately with the EC not only planning to ban all Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe, but also to warn its citizens not to use Indonesian airlines, even within Indonesian territory.

"Although we our suspicious about the decision, we should also consider our safety standards. We should fully comply with international standards before complaining," said Dudi.

The recent regulation ranking airlines into three categories should also be replaced with tighter criteria next year, he added.

And the best way to restructure the industry would be to promote mergers among domestic airlines. State-owned airlines Garuda and Merpati, for instance, would be ideal merger partners, he added.

Herna Danuningrat, chairperson of ASITA's Jakarta branch, said that the proposed ban would, if it came to pass, badly affect the tourism sector. She urged the government to act quickly to limit the damage that had already been caused.

"The entire tourism industry will be affected, especially second-tier tourist destinations in eastern Indonesia, such as Maluku, Sulawesi, Papua, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara and South Kalimantan, where foreign airlines have no direct access," she said.

Darma Trisnawinata, an executive of Panorama Tours DMC, said that since the shock announcement of the proposed ban last Thursday, his company was already facing difficulties with hundreds of its European customers now in Padang, West Sumatra.

They had planned to visit a number of destinations within Indonesia, including Java, Sulawesi, Bali and Lombok.

Darma said his company was would not cancel the tour. It, would instead fly the tourists to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia-based budget carrier Air Asia, from where they would take flights back to Indonesia to continue their trips.

"We will cover the additional expense this time, but we won't be able to do it the next time. We know they won't be happy because, even if they agree to our plan, they'll have a longer journey and will have to get on-arrival visas twice."