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. …

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Emergency plane landing in Romania; all 51 safe

The Jakarta Post, Dragos Bota, Associated Press, Timisoara | Sat, 02/28/2009 7:53 PM 

A Romanian plane carrying 51 people made a safe emergency landing in western Romania on Saturday and all the occupants escaped, officials said. 

Part of the Carpatair flight's landing gear became stuck and the aircraft circled Timisoara International Airport for almost two hours, using up its fuel to avoid a potential fire, officials said, before it landed nose-down on a bed of foam laid out by firefighters. 

The Saab 2000 aircraft was carrying 47 passengers and four crew members on its flight from the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, to Timisoara, airport spokeswoman Carmen Stoica said. 

The Emergency Inspectorate said at least 10 ambulances and three fire engines were waiting for the stricken plane. 

"The plane ... crash-landed on the foam carpet spread by firefighters on the airstrip. All passengers are fine," said inspectorate spokeswoman Sindia Vlaia. 

The airport's runway is about 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) long.

The Romanian Transportation Ministry has sent a team to Timisoara to investigate the incident.

First made-in-Indonesia APCs handed to Army

Abdul Khalik, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Sat, 02/28/2009 11:11 AM  

Local pride: Army soldiers stand by armored personnel carriers (APCs) at the factory of national arms producer PT Pindad in Bandung, West Java, on Friday. The state-owned company handed over the first batch of 20 vehicles to the Indonesian Military (TNI). JP/Abdul Khalik 

In a breakthrough that could turn the country into a military equipment maker, state arms firm PT Pindad handed over Friday the first armored personnel carriers (APCs). 

The 20 APCs, part of 154 vehicles ordered by the Defense Ministry for the Army, were handed over Friday at a ceremony at Pindad's plant in Bandung, West Java. 

Officials say the production of the APCs has boosted the morale of the national defense industry to end the country's dependence on expensive imported war machines. 

"The vehicles have been tested by our experts in different fields of battle, and are proven to satisfy our needs," Defense Ministry director for infrastructure Rear Marshal Eris Heriyanto told reporters after symbolically receiving the vehicles from Pindad president director Adik Avianto. 

"With regard to quality, they match those that we have imported." 

Under the contract, worth Rp 1.1 trillion (US$90 million), the remaining 134 vehicles will be delivered by 2010. 

State banks BRI, BNI and Mandiri have together provided the financing scheme for the production, which will be paid back by the government from the state budget. 

"We will provide Rp 200 billion in standby loans for the production of 154 APCs. We will see if we can cooperate with Pindad in future projects," BRI director Asmawi Syam said on the sidelines of the ceremony. 

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said in his speech read by Aris that the government expected Pindad to move forward to produce other military equipment to replace the country's aging weaponry. 

The Army said it would use the APCs for the country's UN peacekeeping force, infantry and cavalry. 

The six-wheel-drive vehicle, with a maximum speed of 90 kilometers per hour and maximum range of 600 kilometers, uses 70 percent local products. Only the engine is imported from French automaker Renault, Adik said. 

"This is a first in Indonesian and Pindad history, to locally produce an APC," Adik said. 

"And except for the engine, we made all the other parts. You see, we've been trying to seek local engine producers. But for now, there are no local firms capable of supplying such an engine." 

He said Renault was committed to delivering engines for the next orders. 

The quality of the APCs have been internationally recognized, proven by an order of 14 vehicles placed by Nepal, which will use the Indonesian APCs for peacekeeping missions in Cameroon. 

"The price of each of our APCs is only Rp 7 billion, while those that we import cost $1 million," Adik said. 

"That's why our production is highly competitive." 

He added the next step after the completion of the government's order for the APCs would see the company expand its production to include making war vehicles, such as amphibious tanks for the Marines, cannons and other heavy arms. 

"We believe we have the capability to produce any military equipment as long as the government supports us," he said. 

Indonesia has been dependent on foreign suppliers for its military equipment, which many fear could endanger its sovereignty. 

The dependency was proven when the US, under then president Bill Clinton, slapped a military ban on the country for alleged human rights violations, causing much of its military equipment, among the most meager in Southeast Asia, without proper maintenance or upgrades.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

EU Certification Hangs In Balance for Airlines

The Jakarta Globe, Janeman Latul & Putri Prameswhari, February 26, 2009 

On the same day that the European Union’s audit team arrived in Indonesia to assess the safety of the country’s accident-riddled aviation sector, the possibility of gaining certification to fly to Europe was again thrown into doubt when a 12-year-old Lion Air MD-90 crash-landed in Batam, Riau Islands Province, on Monday without its front landing gear. 

Another safety incident involving a Lion Air flight occurred on the same day that inspectors arrived from the European Union to assess Indonesia's poor aviation track record. (Photo: Antara)

Nobody was hurt in the incident, but coming as it did during the audit team’s visit, it added another stain to the country’s troubled air safety record, which had been clean for 21 months. Aviation authorities are hoping the ban will be lifted in March. 

The country’s case was hardly helped by Budi Suyitno, the director general of air transportation, who spoke with the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday. “It is an old plane that could have hidden defects which inspectors couldn’t identify,” Budi said. 

“The older the plane, the more the problems. The risk is always there and for the Lion Air incident, the problem was that one of the levers for the wheel hatch was broken, which caused the plane’s forward landing gear to stick.” The landing gear lever, he said, “is at a place where it is difficult to find by the inspectors.” 

“It is impossible to find that kind of problem in the ground inspection,” he said. 

Indonesia has one of the world’s worst air safety records. The March 2007 crash that led the EU to impose the ban four months later occurred when a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737 with 140 people aboard burst into flames after overshooting the runway at Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto International Airport, leaving 21 people dead. The pilot is now on trial for criminal negligence. 

That crash was preceded by one in which a Boeing 737, flown by the now-defunct Adam Air budget carrier, plunged into the sea on New Year’s Day of 2007, killing all 102 passengers and crew. The crashes, however, were regarded more as symptoms of a deeper problem. 

In the decade to 2007, the Aviation Safety Network recorded 48 air accidents in the country, traceable to old and badly maintained aircraft, outdated technology, poorly trained personnel, poor radar cover, noncompliance with air traffic regulations, bad management practices at airports and corruption. 

Since the imposition of the ban, the government has worked assiduously to correct the situation. It has increased the number of inspectors, introduced new and tighter regulations and increased supervision of safety and compliance, as well as created a ranking system to check the performance of the airlines. 

As an example of how far the country’s airlines have to go, however, an advertisement appeared in local publications congratulating the country’s fleet for going a year without a fatality . 

Budi said that although the government and the National Transportation Safety Committee, or KNKT, are currently investigating the incident in Batam, he is confident it won’t cause the EU to delay lifting the ban. “I don’t think they will be affected by the incident,” he said.

Airport gets ambassadors in rollerblades

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 02/26/2009 1:58 PM  

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II launched Wednesday an "Airport Ambassador" program to promote a clean airport environment and provide mobile information services for travelers. 

The program will see company officials patrolling the terminals on rollerblades, doing quick clean actions like picking up stray litter and tidying up mats, and helping airport users in need of information. 

The officials will be able to speak English and Indonesian, and will be recognizable by their orange shirts. 

Angkasa Pura spokesman Trisno Heryadi said the program was aimed at educating the public on the importance of a clean airport, as well as providing a value-added service. 

"The airport is the country's gateway, so it's important to ask for public participation to keep it clean," he said. "Also, it will give airline passengers an additional service by providing them with unique assistance while at the airport," 

The ambassadors will start full duties Friday at Terminal 1A and will move to another terminal after a week. 

"We'll evaluate the program over the next three months and may add more ambassadors for more terminals if we find it a success," Trisno added. 

Soekarno-Hatta, the busiest airport in the country, currently serves 34 million passengers a year. (hwa)

Automotive spare parts makers needs protection: Industry

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Thu, 02/26/2009 9:17 AM 

The automotive parts industry, facing a major downturn during the current economic crisis, has asked the government to introduce a new import trade regulation to protect its domestic market share. 

“Limiting the import of auto parts will help increase the local industry’s share in the domestic market, which will eventually increase sales,” Hadi Suryadipradja, chairman of the Indonesian Automotive Parts and Components Manufacturers Association (GIAMM), said Wednesday. 

“The electronic industry’s domestic market share has increased since the government introduced import limitations for the commodity. I think the same can be done for the spare parts industry.” 

Hadi added that increasing demand would help the industry utilize its backlog of raw material inventories. 

A decline in vehicle sales has been followed by a drop in auto parts sales, while raw material has stacked up because the industry ordered them in significant amounts to anticipate increasing demands in the last quarter of 2008. 

However, the industry proved to have miscalculated its prediction, as markets crumbled due to the global crisis. 

“[Now] we predict that automotive spare parts sales will decrease by around 30 percent following the decline in vehicles sales,” Hadi said. 

The Indonesian Society of Automotive Engineers (IATO) recently predicted the impact of the crisis would see a 30 percent drop in vehicles sales in 2009. 

IATO president director Gunadi Sidhuwinata said the number of cars sold would only be around 400,000 units, while motorcycle sales would flag to around 4 million units this year. 

Last year, the industry managed to sell around 623,000 cars and 6.2 million motorcycles. 

A significant drop in sales could force industry players to start gradually dismissing employees, currently numbering around 400,000 people. 

The country’s spare parts industry recorded around US$30 billion from export sales last year, up by 19 percent from the 2007 figure. 

Another challenge for the industry in fighting for domestic market share is the stiff competition with Chinese-made fake parts and unlicensed spare part components that have flooded the market. 

“People prefer the Chinese products because they are much cheaper, even though the quality is questionable,” Hadi said. 

“These products are really ruining our domestic sales.” 

He added, “We have nothing against imports, as long as the imported products carry their own brands. But the fact is, there are a lot of fake branded products.” 

The government has accommodated GIAMM’s request in a recent proposal to limit imports for six commodities, including ceramics, energy-saving lamps, cell phones, shoes and bicycles. 

But the spare part association’s request for such protection will have to wait a little longer, after the Industry Ministry deemed the “urgency” level for protecting the automotive parts industry was not as high as for other industries. 

“The fact that imported spare parts usually target after-sales market makes [the protection of this industry] less significant compared to other industries such as the steel industry,” said Budi Darmadi, the ministry’s director of transportation and telecommunications industry. 

“So a trade regulation on spare parts will have less urgency. 

“The spare parts industry also has less circulation compared to the others.” 

The government recently introduced a new import regulation for steel products. 

“We will try our best to introduce an import regulation for the spare parts industry as soon as possible,” Budi said. (hdt)

Ministry appoints new directors for KAI and PPA

The Jakarta Post,  JAKARTA   |  Thu, 02/26/2009 10:40 AM  

The State Owned Enterprise (SOE) Ministry appointed directors for the state railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI) and the state asset management company (PPA) on Wednesday. 

“I hope the new directors can improve their respective company’s performance, profit margin, services and good corporate governance,” Sofyan Djalil, the minister of SOE said in his speech. 

The minister appointed Ignasius Jonan as the new president director for PT KAI, replacing Ronny Wahyudi who has been appointed to the board of commissioners for state train car producer PT INKA. 

The minister also appointed new directors for PPA. 

Andi Saddawero was appointed as the new asset management director, Saiful Haq Manan as restructuring and revitalization director, Wandhy Wira Riady as finance and investment director, Tunggul Rajagukguk as risk management director, and Tri Herutantoyo as legal, human resources, and general affairs director for the company. 

Sofyan said that a change  in the board of directors was something usual as the companies needed to refresh their management in order to improve their performance. 

He said that he chose Ignasius Jonan, who did not build his previous career within PT KAI, to speed up the transformation of the company. 

Ignasius Jonan is a former CEO of Bahana Pembinaan Usaha Indonesia (BPUI) from 2001 to 2006, a state-owned holding company of investment bank PT Bahana Sekuritas Tbk, after which he worked as managing director and head of investment banking for Citicorp in Indonesia from 2006-2008. 

Meanwhile, PT KAI’s former director of operational Soedharmo Ramadhan has been promoted as the vice president director. The minister also appointed Sulistyo Wimbo Hardjito as a member of the board of directors. 

Sofyan said that the new directors have to continue the current train rehabilitation program which has an allocated budget. 

Furthermore, Sofyan hopes that the new KAI management can help serve at least 20 to 30 percent of the 30 million commuters in Jakarta in the next two to three years. He also pointed out the need to revitalize the South Sumatra rail tracks in order to deliver enough coal to publicly listed coal mining firm PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam (PTBA). 

“Currently, the South Sumatra rail tracks can only deliver around eight million tons of coal per year, while PTBA has abundant coal reserves. I hope that KAI can improve its performance by delivering at least 20 million tons per year,” he said. 

Commenting on his new task in KAI Jonan said that he would focus on improving the quality of services, security, and timeliness while continuing the current projects. 

“PT KAI is a big company. The former directors have done a good job but it can be improved,” he said. 

The government had allocated Rp 19 trillion (US$2.09 billion) last December from the state budget for a three-year revitalization of PT KAI. 

The Ministry of Communication and Information data revealed that in 2008, KAI recorded Rp 4.32 trillion in revenue with an operating profit of around Rp 40 billion. Its net profit was estimated at around Rp 2.5 billion to Rp 12.5 billion. 

KAI projected that this year the company was aiming to increase growth in revenue by 4.6 percent to Rp 4.5 trillion. (fmb)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lion Air Plane Lands Without Front Wheels

The Jakarta Globe, Dessy Sagita & Putri Prameshwari, February 25, 2009 

A Lion Air jetliner was forced to land without its front landing gear on Monday evening, transportation officials said, adding yet another stain on Indonesia’s troubled air safety record. 

The McDonnell Douglas 90 had flown from Medan, North Sumatra Province, and was approaching Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands Province, when pilots discovered that the plane’s forward landing gear was stuck, Bambang Ervan, chief spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation said on Tuesday. 

“The pilot decided to land, after an hour of flying around to empty the fuel tank,” he said, adding that the plane had been properly checked before taking off. 

The plane, under the registration sign PK-LIO, was carrying 156 passengers as well as cabin crew, and was piloted by Capt. Anwar Haryanto. Bambang said no one was killed in the accident, but nine people were taken to a hospital and treated for mental trauma suffered in the ordeal. 

JA Barata, spokesman for the government’s crash investigation body, the National Transportation Safety Committee, or KNKT, said three senior investigators were deployed to Batam on Tuesday. “They include KNKT Chief Tatang Kurniadi and his deputy, Franz Wenas,” Barata said. 

Edward Sirait, acting spokesman for Lion Air, said that the plane, built in 1996, was in good condition according to the official records, or log book. 

“It’s under our routine maintenance,” Edward said, adding that the jet had flown for a total of 20,000 hours. 

The KNKT team is still investigating the cause of the malfunction, however he declined to release any preliminary results. 

“We have to collect the facts and analyze everything including the maintenance data of the airline from every aspect. It’s too soon to conclude anything now,” he said. Tatang said the team did not prioritize to find the indication of human error. 

“Our principle is no blame, no liability. We’re looking for a flaw in the system instead of human or corporate error,” he said. 

Tatang said though the emergency landing of the Lion Air jetliner was classified as a serious incident, the event should not affect the European Commission’s plan to lift a 2007 ban on Indonesian airlines. “I don’t think the [EC] has accurate data to support their decision to issue a flight ban for Indonesian airlines,” he said.

EU legislators promise to help lifting of flight ban

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Wed, 02/25/2009 9:06 AM  

EU parliamentarians  have promised to help lift a ban on Indonesian airlines in European airspace, after lauding improvements in safety. 

During a bilateral meeting with Indonesian legislators here Tuesday, the 18 EU parliamentarians promised to have the ban, in place since 2007, lifted, saying they had noticed many improvements in aviation safety and technical matters. 

“Our aircraft will soon be allowed to flight to Europe again,” Abdillah Toha, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, told The Jakarta Post after the meeting. 

Among the EU Parliament members attending the meeting were chairman Hartmut Nassauer from Germany, vice chairwoman Giovanna Corda from Belgium, and development committee member Frithjof Schmidt from Germany. 

However, the visitors did not set a date for the lifting of the ban. 

“They didn’t tell us when, but soon,” Abdillah said. 

Previously, presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said the EU might lift its air travel ban on Indonesian airliners in the middle of this year, while some EU officials have said the ban could be lifted by either March or June 2009. 

During Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s visit last week to the Netherlands to meet with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Houven, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen and Finance Minister Wouter Bos, Kalla said the ban would be lifted within two months. 

Indonesia, he added, would comply with the remaining 10 of 60 flight safety requirements set out by the EU before the ban could be lifted. 

Most of the remaining requirements are in the form of implementing regulations linked to the recently enacted new law on aviation, which highlights stricter and tougher air safety compliance, Kalla said. 

High-ranking EU officials have acknowledged the progress Indonesia has made in overhauling its aviation business, pointing to the passage of the aviation law as one of the positive improvements. 

But despite the acknowledgement and frequent promises, it still remains unclear when the ban will be lifted, prompting strong reaction from government officials. 

“We’re disappointed with the protracted ban. We’ve made some improvements, so we do hope these will be taken into consideration,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah.

“The way we see it, the EU has always puts its actions [in terms of] technical issues. But we question if there are political motives behind the decision.” 

However, Abdillah said the EU had clearly banned Indonesian airlines because of technical problems, and not for political reasons. 

“This ban was put in place because of the lack of aviation safety, not because of political problems in Indonesia,” he said. 

The EU imposed the ban in 2007 after a committee of air safety experts expressed concern over a spate of airline accidents in Indonesia at the time and the failure of the local authorities to provide adequate safety assurances. 

The industry’s deregulation in the 1990s led to a spawning of airlines and triggered a string of air accidents, with hundreds of casualties claimed. 

One of the worst accidents was in January 2007, when 102 people were killed on board an Adam Air Boeing 737 that crashed into the sea off Sulawesi. 

Besides discussing the Indonesia aviation sector, the EU parliamentarians also asked about the upcoming elections and recent developments in Aceh. (naf)

RI-China airplane deal in stalemate

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 02/25/2009 5:50 PM  

The row between Jakarta and Beijing intensifies as the latest negotiation on the purchase of 15 airplanes from China’s Zian Aircraft Industry Company (Xian) by Indonesia’s state airline PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines ends with a deadlock. 

“The government met with Xian representatives last week, but failed to reach a new deal,” State Minister for State Enterprises Sofyan Djalil told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday. 

Sofyan said the meeting discussed the possibility for renewing a deal, which was signed back in June 7, 2006, on the airline purchases. 

Under the initial deal, Merpati agrees buy 15 MA-60 airplanes at a price of US$15 million each. So far Merpati had only bought two airplanes and refrained for paying for the rest after finding that the planes were overpriced. 

Merpati suspects a price mark-up behind the deal as the normal price for a plane with the same specification as the MA-60 is about $11 million at the international market. 

Furious with Merpati bailing out, Xian demands the company to pay Rp 1 trillion ($84 million) in penalty while Beijing is considering canceling its plan to finance the government’s 10,000 megawatt power plant projects. 

Sofyan said the government would continue to engage in negotiation with the Chinese government, but with the main priority of protecting Merpati from losses. 

“We must not let Merpati suffer any losses,” he said. (and)

Mitsubishi remains upbeat despite crisis

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/25/2009 1:52 PM 

Having booked a fairly solid performance in January, coupled with predicted positive economic impacts from the upcoming elections, Mitsubishi is upbeat about meeting its full-year sales target of 60,000 units despite the economic crisis. 

The target, which is around 30 percent lower than last year's sales, has been set in line with a prediction by the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) that total auto sales would this year drop by as much as 30 percent as slower economic growth reduces demand. 

"Indonesia's economy will be better compared to Europe and the United States. The huge population will trigger the growth of consumptive products domestically while some commodities are also improving, such as palm oil and rubber," Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian (KTB), Mitsubishi authorized dealer, president director Fumio Kuwayama told a press briefing on Tuesday. 

"Facing the elections, the economy will move faster, just like what happened in 2004. It's very promising and we are optimistic *about meeting the target*," he added. 

January's figures seem to have justified his optimism, with the company selling 5,630 units - around 15 percent higher from a year earlier. 

KTB defied the odds as Gaikindo reported during the same period (January) that all auto sales dropped 24 percent to 32,167 in 2009 from 42,489 units a year earlier. 

In 2008, KTB gained a 42 percent increase in sales compared to 2007 when they sold 61,547 units. 

The company has relied on commercial vehicles, in particular Fuso trucks which account for 60 percent of its total sales, and light commercial vehicles (37 percent). 

The remaining 3 percent is for passenger cars comprising Grandis multi purpose vehicles, Strada Triton sports utility vehicles and Lancer sedans. 

"We have launched our revitalization program by the end of 2007 to increase the passenger cars segment. Our target is to raise awareness *of Mitsubishi* and show our presence to our customers," KTB director of marketing Rizwan Alamsjah said. 

To help cope with the current adverse economic conditions, KTB also plans to soon raise the prices of its vehicles by between 20 percent and 30 percent. 

On Jan. 1, some of the country's leading carmakers already raised their prices by between 5 percent and 13 percent. 

For 2009, Gaikindo has estimated auto sales may decline to as low as 405,000 units, from last year's 605,000.

Nine killed as Turkish plane crashes near Amsterdam airport

(CNN) -- A Turkish passenger jet crashed as it tried to land at Amsterdam's main airport Wednesday, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 50, 25 seriously, Dutch airport authorities have said. 

The Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800, which had 127 passengers and seven crew members, broke into three pieces on impact in a field near Schiphol Airport. 

A news photographer at the scene said he saw an unknown number of bodies lying under a white blanket, Maaike Voersma, a journalist with Dutch newspaper De Bers, told CNN. 

A passenger on the plane who spoke to Turkish network DHA said he saw injured people trapped and squeezed between the seats when he walked off the plane. 

The Boeing 737-800, which originated from Istanbul, Turkey, was trying to land at Schiphol when it went down at about 10:40 a.m. local time, Dutch airport officials said. 

Pictures from the scene showed the plane broken in three pieces. One tear was in front of the wing, splitting the "Turkish" logo in two, and a larger tear was farther back along he fuselage.  See where the plane crashed » 

Most of the injured were seated toward the back of the plane, which sustained the most damage, a passenger on the plane told Turkish station NTV. Many of the passengers simply walked off the plane through the cracks in the fuselage, witnesses told NTV.  

Images from the scene showed medics treating passengers on the ground next to the buckled hulk of the plane, while firefighters and police examined the aircraft. 

The plane landed in a flat farmer's field near the airport, RTL journalist Greg Crouch told CNN. He said the weather at the time was partly sunny with no wind or rain. 

Witnesses said they saw the nose of the plane pitch up suddenly before the crash, Crouch said. 

A bank manager who was a passenger on the plane told NTV that there were no emergency announcements. The crew's last word to the cabin was an announcement to fasten seatbelts and prepare for landing, the bank manager said. 

He said he felt the pilot giving more power to the engines before a sudden drop and then the crash. He described the crash as similar to a sudden impact that was over in a matter of seconds. 

Kieran Daly, of Air Transport Intelligence said the impact had been severe but it could have been survivable because of the lack of fire. He added that there had been vast improvements in the materials used to build airplanes, meaning they did not burn as easily.  

Daly also said that the Boeing 737-800 is a reliable aircraft that has been successful and safe in service. 

"They really are pretty much state-of-the-art airliners with every imaginable technical benefit the industry has come up with over the years," Daly told CNN. 

"You would be optimistic that they would be quite survivable in an accident." Daly said the Turkish aviation industry has a "pretty good record" of safety, and that Turkish Airlines, the national carrier, has a "very good record." 

The airline's last accident was of a small commuter jet in 2003, he said. It was a fatal crash that happened at a remote airfield in eastern Turkey, he said. "Their mainline operation is safe," Daly said. "Their pilots are well thought of." 

The last accident at Schiphol Airport happened in December 2003 when an EasyJet flight carrying 103 passengers to London collided while with a lamppost while taxiing during icy conditions, according to Aviation Safety Network's Web site. The crash caused significant damage to the aircraft, but no one was killed. 

The other two most recent accidents at Schiphol -- in 1998 and 1997 -- also resulted in no fatalities, according to the network. 

The last fatal incident at the Amsterdam airport happened in April 1994 when a KLM aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff as it tried to return to Schiphol. Three of the 24 passengers and crew members on board were killed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prosecutors Seek 4 Years for Pilot Accused of Negligence

The Jakarta Globe, Putri Prameshwari, February 24, 2009

Prosecutors said Capt. Marwoto Komar ignored several warnings not to land. (Photo: Regina Safri, Antara)

Prosecutors in the country’s first criminal-negligence trial against an aircraft pilot on Monday recommended a four-year jail sentence for Capt. Marwoto Komar over the Garuda Indonesia jetliner crash in Yogyakarta in 2007 that left 21 people dead, including five Australians. 

Marwoto was trying to land the ill-fated Boeing 737, which left Jakarta on March 7, 2007, with 140 people on board, when he missed the runway at Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto International Airport and crashed into a nearby field, causing the plane to burst into flames. 

“The prosecutors did not have enough evidence for their primary charge, so they recommended four years [in prison] for negligence,” said Muhammad Assegaf, Marwoto’s lawyer. 

Prosecutors initially accused him of manslaughter, a crime that can carry the death sentence. 

“Based on the testimony of witnesses and the defendant himself — as well as other evidence — we ask the judges to declare the defendant guilty of negligence leading to the crash,” Modim Aristo, who headed the team of prosecutors, told the Sleman district court in Yogyakarta, according to the state-run Antara news agency. 

Assegaf said Marwoto should not even be on trial because pilots should not face criminal charges. 

“He is the first pilot in Indonesia to be charged with a criminal offense [as a pilot],” Assegaf said, adding that Marwoto should be tried by an aviation council. 

The Ministry of Transportation is legally authorized to form a professional council to administer such problems, comprising aviation experts, officials from the National Transportation Safety Committee, or KNKT, and representatives from the ministry. 

Prosecutors Modim and Jamin Susanto, who took turns reading the 176-page recommendation, said the evidence showed that the defendant had ignored a warning from the co-pilot and alerts from the Ground Positioning Warning System and continued to land despite the plane’s high speed. 

In its report on the crash, the KNKT said the pilot had landed at high speed and had ignored 15 automatic warnings against landing, as well as “two calls from the co-pilot to go around.” 

But Assegaf said his client was a cautious man and that he initially refused to take off from Jakarta because of a blinking indicator. 

“An indicator beeped before the plane took off and Marwoto refused to fly before it was repaired,” Assegaf said. “This shows my client was being cautious.” 

Judge Sri Andini, who headed the panel of judges, said that the trial will resume on March 10 to hear from the defense. 

Poor infrastructure and a lack of safety measures have led to a string of air accidents in Indonesia in recent years, prompting the European Union to ban all Indonesian craft from flying over Europe.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tourism Train Inaugurated

Monday, 23 February, 2009 | 20:34 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, Padang:Transportation Minister Djusman Syafii Djamal has officially launched the operations of Padangpanjang-Sawahlunto Tourism Train. The train will pass the Singkarak Lake and the E1060 Steam Locomotive at Padangpanjang and Sawahlunto train stations. 

“This is a special route. The railway tracks at the Anai Hills is one of two highest tracks in the world after Switzerland,” Djusman said last week. The E1060 Steam Locomotive is operated at Sawahlunto to cater the abundant coal supply in the area. 


Train crash

ANTARA, February 2009

Some police officer and villagers help victims of train crash against passenger bus in Surabaya - Malang road, East Java, Monday (Feb.23). At least eight peoples was kill in this accident. (ANTARA photo/Arief Priyono)

Related Article:

Train hits bus killing eight

Indonesia prosecutors seek jail for Garuda pilot

Sleman, Indonesia (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Indonesian prosecutors asked a court on Monday to jail for four years for negligence the pilot of a Garuda Indonesia plane that crashed at Yogyakarta airport in 2007, killing 21 people. 

Prosecutors told the court in Sleman, near Yogyakarta on Java island, that captain Marwoto Komar had ignored warnings from his co-pilot and onboard warning signals about the plane`s speed and trajectory when landing the aircraft with 140 people on board. 

"As a senior pilot, the defendant was not really careful, causing the loss of lives," said Mudim Aristo, head of the team of prosecutors. 

Komar, who had 22 years of flying experience, has denied the charges against him, and told reporters after the hearing that he had tried to avoid the accident. 

The pilot`s defence team is due to present its final arguments on March 10. 

The Boeing 737 bounced and skidded off the runway, then burst into flames on rice fields near the airport in March 2007. 

Five Australians -- two policemen, a diplomat, a journalist and an aid official -- were among the casualties. 

They were part of a group that had been accompanying former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, who was not on board the plane, on a visit to Indonesia. 

(Writing by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Ed Davies and Jerry Norton)

AirAsia Offers Free Seats For Four New Routes

Bernama) -- AirAsia is giving away free seats to mark the launch of four new routes -- Bali-Singapore, Bandung-Singapore, Jakarta-Singapore and Yogyakarta-Singapore. 

The booking is open for travel from Feb 24 till Feb 28 for travel between March 24 and Jan 31, 2010. Booking is also available online via the website 

The four new routes further enhances AirAsia's present vast network, especially across the Asean region. 

With brand new routes being constantly introduced, countries across the region are efficiently connected with each other and the rest of the world through the budget carriers' hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. 

Indonesia AirAsia chief executive officer Dharmadi said: "These new routes are a significant achievement for us as it signifies our drive and commitment in expanding our network, providing an extensive choice of destinations to our guests." 

"For a start, there will be one daily direct flight from Bali, Bandung and Yogyakarta to Singapore and two daily direct flights from Jakarta to Singapore. 

"With these new routes, more people in Indonesia will get to enjoy accessibility to Singapore. Through our extensive network, covering over 114 routes and 64 destinations, it opens the door to other destinations in the Asean region, Japan, China, Australia and Europe," he said. 

The new routes will be operated by AirAsia's Indonesian operations, currently the only airline flying the Bandung-Singapore route and the first low- fare airline to service the Yogyakarta-Singapore route. 

AirAsia Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan said: "It is also convenient for Indonesians to visit Singapore, renowned as a shopping paradise, leisure centre and food haven. 

"The daily direct flights from out of four Indonesian cities will definitely enhance accessibility for the republic and continue to attract guests with our low fares and innovative services. 

"This enhanced passenger traffic will definitely boost tourism and stimulate local economies between Indonesia and Singapore," she added.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

National airport operator to increase services tax

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 02/22/2009 9:41 AM

State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II has officially announced on Sunday that it would be increasing all services tariffs by 20 to 30 percent across the country. 

"The increase isn't for individual passenger services like luggage, passport and fiskal," Angkasa Pura II spokesman Trisno Heryadi said, as quoted by 

He said the increased funds would be allocated to renovate and improve various airport facilities like washrooms, air conditioning, electricity and security. 

Heryadi explained that under the new arrangement, the airport tax for domestic and international travellers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport would be Rp 40,000 and Rp 150,000 respectively. 

"It's not a new tax altogether, but rather a new fee," Heryadi said, adding that the tariff increase would be part of airport tax fee. 

He argued that among the factors behind the increase was the fact that the airports services were exhausted beyond capacity. 

"The overstretch has led to an outstretch of airport capacity in serving passengers," Heryadi remarked. 

At Soekarno-Hatta, he added, over 34 million passengers were served annually, well beyond the carrying capacity of 18 million travellers. (amr)

Related Article: 

New airport tax tariffs start March 1

Mandala committed to proper aircraft maintenance: spokeperson

Denpasar (
ANTARA News) - PT Mandala Airlines has a high commitment to the proper maintenance of its aircraft, the head of the company's corporate communications, Trisja Megawati, said here on Saturday.

"Mandala will never operate unsafe planes and therefore we want to ensure that all of our aircraft are airworthy. To ensure the meeting of international safety standards, we have entrusted all maintenance works on our fleet to Singapore Airlines Engineering Company (SAEC) in Singapore," Megawati said. 

She made the remark in a written statement following the cancellation of Mandala Airline flight RI-570 from Denpasar to Yogyakarta on Friday because of a technical problem. 

The flight was originally scheduled to depart Ngurah Rai airport for Adi Sucipto airport in Yugyakarta at 7:30 a.m. local time on Friday but it had to be delayed for several hours and finally canceled. 

The cancellation caused bitter disappointment among its 137 passengers. 

Ngurah Rai airport duty manager Muhidi said the technical problem was discovered when the plane was about to take off. 

He said the plane was in a standby position on the tarmac, ready to take off but a few moments later it returned to the apron. 

The passengers then got off the plane and waited in a waiting room for several hours before they were finally notified that the flight was canceled and to be replaced by another Mandala flight the next day (Saturday). 

But Megawati said the cancellation was made early in the morning soon after the technical problem was discovered. 

"The passengers were notified about the cancellation in the morning when they checked in and there was no boarding process at all," She said. 

Meanwhile, Mandala Chief Executive Officer Warwick Brady said in Singapore on Friday that the company had entrusted its aircraft maintenance and minor repair work to SIAEC. 

"We entrust every repair, from the nose to the tail, of Mandala aircraft to SIAEC," Warwick said at Crowne Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport in Singapore. 

He said Mandala continued to maintain its commitment to flight security and safety by applying international aviation standards, including in maintenance and repair work.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Garuda incident not dangerous: KNKT

The Jakarta Post
,  Sat, 02/21/2009 3:42 PM  

MEDAN: The National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) has announced that a noise which occurred in the cabin roof of a Garuda Indonesia airplane flying from Jakarta to Medan, triggering panic among passengers, on Wednesday, was not dangerous to the aircraft. 

KNKT chairman Tatang explained that the "crack" sound happened because of a broken pipe in the plane's air conditioner. 

"It is not true that the cabin's roof was broken. The leakage of the pipe caused only a small hole in the roof near the baggage cabin. The broken pipe presented a tolerable problem and was just an ordinary incident. It was not serious damage," Tatang said in a press conference in Polonia airport, Medan on Thursday. 

He said technicians repaired the leak and the plane was flown to Jakarta at about 1: 30 p.m.. 

After the incident, Tantang recommended that all operators of Boeing 737-400 aicraft should check the main pipe of the air conditioner to avoid similar incidents from reoccurring. - JP

Merpati in for slow start, but begins to see progress

The Jakarta Post
, JAKARTA | Sat, 02/21/2009 10:36 AM  

Ailing state airline company PT Merpati Nusantara aims to record only Rp 70 billion ($5.88 million) in net profit this year by cutting its capital expenditure to practically zero. 

“We can only aim for so little because there are still a lot of mandatory costs that we need to settle,” president director Bambang Bhakti said on Friday. 

Among the mandatory costs, he said, are the need to integrate Merpati’s information technology (IT) system in support of new routes as well as crew management, and also the settlements of debts. 

Still, if materialized, the projected profit would represent a gradual improvement for the company. 

Merpati boasts some Rp 950 billion in assets but has been suffering from massive debts and soaring costs, and is now under a restructuring program of the Asset Management Company (PPA) — the state-sanctioned agency tasked to restructure ailing state firms. 

It has a total debt of Rp 2.2 trillion to two other state firms, plus around Rp 800 billion it owes as part of employee layoff settlements, following the dismissal of up to 1,300 workers on a voluntary basis. 

Bambang said that the company was recovering from its critical problems since the fourth quarter of last year. 

Bambang said the company would not allocate any capital expenditure for this year as a practical  means  to achieve its targeted growth in net profits and revenue. 

He said the company aimed to achieve a 50 percent increase in revenue this year, from an estimated Rp 2 trillion (unaudited) last year to a forecast Rp 3 trillion this year. 

“This year capital expenditure is zero,” he said. 

He said that in this time of crisis, company management is trying to make fixed costs into variables. 

“We are not planning any investment (fixed costs), but we will look at other options such as leasing, outsourcing, and the increasing of fuel efficiency,” said Bambang. 

He said the company would benefit more if it leased airplanes instead of buying them, outsourcing employee services, and using electronic ticketing, as well as setting up a new special team to ensure adequate fuel supply and fuel management, rather than excessive use of fuel, without compromising on safety measures. 

The company is also looking for joint operation agreements (KSOs) with regencies, firms or individuals, as a way to boost its performance. 

Bambang said that Merpati had gained 14 KSO deals that could see the company increase its fleet from 10 jets and 10 propeller driven aircraft to 16 jets and 19 propeller driven aircraft, respectively. 

Previously, Merpati signed a contract in 2006 with China’s Xi’an Aircraft Industry. The contract centered on the purchase of 15 Xinzhou-60 aircraft by Merpati from Xi’an, using a soft-loan scheme, with each aircraft costing around $14 million. 

However, Merpati failed to honor the contract, leading to a halt in delivery of the airplanes, forcing the need to renegotiate the deal. 

State enterprises minister Sofyan Djalil had said earlier that the renegotiation of this contract was still ongoing with both parties trying to re-negotiate the price, quantity, and guarantees for the planes. (fmb) 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Garuda To Lease 8 Jetliners

The Jakarta Globe, Janeman Latul & Yessar Rosendar, February 21, 2009

State-owned airline, PT Garuda Indonesia, expects to sign a lease agreement on Mar. 3 with a Middle Eastern company to enable the 59-year-old carrier to lease 8 new Boeing 737-800NGs worth up to $360 million, Emirsyah Satar, Garuda’s CEO, told the Jakarta Globe. 

However, Emirsyah declined to release the name of the leasing company. Garuda’s original plan called for the airline to lease 14 planes funded by different investors in November last year. 

“There’s already a leasing company from the Middle East that will finance the aircraft purchase [that Garuda will use],” said Sofyan Djalil, minister of state-owned enterprises. “Garuda is going to sign it at the World Islamic Economic Forum. Leasing was preferred by Garuda in order not to burden its balance sheet.” 

Sofyan added that leasing provides more flexibility than buying as the company can replace the planes when the lease ends. The scheme can also shield Garuda’s balance sheet from fluctuating exchange rates as the planes are still owned by the leasing company and not Garuda. 

On Wednesday, the carrier also announced that it will turn to its cargo service arm, GO Product, to add about $13 million to revenue in 2009. In 2008, its cargo service contributed 5.5 percent, or Rp 1 trillion ($84 million), of the company’s total revenue of Rp 18 trillion. Garuda expects cargo capacity to increase.

New airport tax tariffs start March 1

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/20/2009 8:41 AM 

Government has approved the proposal submitted by the state-owned aviation operator, PT Angkasa Pura II, to increase service tariffs at domestic and international flight terminals. 

Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said that the implementation of the new tariffs will start next month. New international flight tariffs will start on March 1,  and domestic ones on March 15. 

"Domestic flight tariffs will only increase by Rp 10,000 on average,  but for international flights by up to Rp 50,000," he said in a statement. 

Angkasa Pura has also received an approval on the adjustment from the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI). 

Many Indonesian airports have been criticized for their lack of proper and decent facilities and access points. Tariff adjustment is hoped to be followed by more improvements in facilities, such as to provide  better public toilets, musholla (prayer rooms) and other facilities and to improve accessibility. 

Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport's domestic flight tariff has increased to Rp 40,000 (US$3.5) from Rp 30,000, while the international flight tax tariff is up to Rp 150,000 from Rp 100,000. 

The domestic flight tariff at Halim Perdanakusuma, the second city airport, goes up to Rp 30,000 from Rp 25,000 and international flight taxes go to Rp 80,000 from Rp 75,000. 

Jakarta's domestic and international tariff increases are the highest compared to other cities, ranging from Rp 5,000 to Rp 10,000 for domestic taxes, and from Rp 5,000 to Rp 50,000 for international taxes. 

Aceh's Sultan Iskandarmuda Airport recorded the highest international tariff increase outside Jakarta, rising by Rp 40,000. 

Medan's Polonia Airport in North Sumatera, Palembang's SM Badaruddin Airport in South Sumatera, Padang's Minangkabau in West Sumatera, Aceh's Sultan Iskandarmuda in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and Bandung's Husein Sastranegara all have domestic flight tariffs increased by Rp 10,000. (hdt)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

City considers adding new bus shelter in Old Town area

Agnes Winarti,  
The Jakarta Post,  Jakarta | Thu, 02/19/2009 2:12 PM  

The administration is currently mulling over a plan to establish an additional Transjakarta bus shelter in the Old Town part of West Jakarta, as part of efforts to order chaotic traffic in the area. 

"We will review the newly proposed plan within a month," head of road traffic division at the city transportation agency, M. Akbar, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. 

A new Transjakarta shelter on Jl. Kunir, located in the northern part of Fatahillah Square, was proposed recently during a meeting of the coordinating team for the revitalization of Old Town area. 

The team includes officials from the city transportation agency, public works agency, district and subdistrict offices, parking unit, city cultural and tourism agency's Old Town unit, and Old Town building owners association. 

Head of the Old Town unit at the cultural and tourism agency, Candrian Attahiyat said, "The shelter would ease the flow of visitors going to the heritage area, so motorists wouldn't be caught in traffic jams." 

The plan will add another 600-meter lane, connecting the Kota shelter to the new shelter on Jl. Kunir. It will help people traveling north, south, east and west around the 840-hectare heritage site in West and North Jakarta. 

"First, we need to reduce the traffic volume in the area, which is more of a transition area for those going to Pluit and Bandengan," Akbar said. 

Under the traffic volume reduction plan, he said, the city would erect traffic signs prohibiting motorists on certain streets. 

Ella Ubaidi, from the Old Town building owners association, said the traffic solution should be integrated with the Old Town master plan. 

She said the traffic problem in Old Town was not only because of vehicle flow on the streets, but also because of motorists misusing sidewalks, which contradicted the administration's plan to turn the area into a pedestrian site. 

"It is too early to decide whether we need more busway shelters," Ella said. "We do not mind having a new shelter close to the heritage area."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Astra to boost used car sales to avoid market decline

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post,  Jakarta | Wed, 02/18/2009 2:06 PM  

Car financing firm PT Astra Sedaya Finance (ASF) will develop its used cars business to help keep the industry afloat amidst anticipated financing difficulties. 

ASF president director Djoni Bunato Tjondro said on Tuesday the company would expand its used car business as demand for new cars is due to fall as the slow down impacts on people's purchasing power. 

He said that ASF, a subsidiary of diversified business giant PT Astra International, would increase the proportion of used car sales up to 30 percent of its targeted 74,000 sales for the year, equal to 22,200 cars. 

Last year, ASF's proportion of used cars was pegged at 20 percent of 91,000 sales, equal to 18,200 units. "The prospects for the used car business will be attractive because demand for new cars will drop, and from our last year's portfolio business, the segment has yet to be fully tapped," he said. 

The Indonesia Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) targets that new car sales will decline by 33 percent to 405,000 units this year from 605,000 units last year due to weakening purchasing power. 

More than 80 percent of Indonesian customers buy vehicles through credit schemes. It is predicted that most of them will face some difficulties paying their monthly instalments due to rather high interest rates set by financing companies. 

Data from the Indonesian Financing Company Association (APPI) show that financing firms are still offering interest rates of 18 to 20 percent despite central bank rate cuts, with the latest cut leaving the benchmark rate at only 8.25 percent. 

APPI forecasts that the financing industry will face bleak prospects this year with loan volume declining by 26 percent to Rp 100 trillion (US$8.5 billion) from an estimated Rp 135 trillion previously. 

This gloomy outlook is also shared by ASF, which targets loan disbursements for car purchases to decline to as little as Rp 9 trillion this year from a total of Rp 11 trillion estimated for 2008. 

Despite these alarming business conditions, the company will try to keep its nonperforming loan (NPL) rate at a level below 2 percent this year, Djoni said 

Last year, ASF's NPL stood at 1.27 percent, down from 1.8 percent recorded in 2007. 

In an attempt to mobilize funds for auto loans despite the global financial crisis, ASF also announced a plan to issue bonds worth Rp 600 billion. It is the tenth time the company has issued bonds to the market. Last year, ASF issued bonds with a value of Rp 1 trillion. 

ASF Finance director Hugeng Gozali said ASF's new proposed bond issue is a part of company strategy to keep business rolling.