Safety risks rise at Indonesian airports due to overcapacity
The Indonesian Air Traffic Controllers Association warns about the increased plane collision risk at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The airport, which is one of the busiest airports in South-East Asia, serves up to 84 planes an hour during rush hour, while instructions allow for only 74 planes and 4 irregular flights tops.
The disputes among Indonesian state-run air navigation company AirNav and Indonesian Air Traffic Controllers Association came to the spotlight after the latter issued a statement claiming Air Nav puts a blind eye to safety risks by regularly allowing up to 84 take-offs and landings per hour at Soekarno-Hatta airport.
However, on July 27, 2017, in response to the increasing demand by airlines, the cap was raised to 81 hourly take-offs and landings. In comparison, Singapore’s Changi airport, which has two runways like Soekarno-Hatta, accommodates 40 planes per hour.
Indonesian airports have seen several near-miss situations recently, with Soekarno-Hatta appearing in the headlines due to a near-miss in April 2017, when a Garuda plane had to abort its landing because the runway was occupied by a Sriwijaya Air plane preparing for take-off. In May 2016, the airport also saw a non-fatal collision of two Lion Air planes.
Due to the spectacular rise of the country’s low-cost carriers, Indonesia is turning into one of the fastest growing aviation markets. At the same time, it is deemed to be one of the least safest, with US and EU authorities questioning the safety of the country’s carriers and often declining access to their airspace. In 2017 the European Commission subjected 54 of 59 Indonesian carriers to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.