Pilots criticise Transportation Minister
Indonesia’s Transportation Minister has been criticised by pilots for his suggestion that Indonesia AirAsia procedural violations played a part in the loss of Flight QZ8501.
The Jakarta Globe reported that Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan became angry when an AirAsia official, suggested that it is not necessary for a pilot to have a weather briefing by a flight operation officer before taking off.
“When we have regulations, you must comply with them; don’t attempt to violate them. I can revoke your license,” Ignasius was quoted as saying by Indonesian news portal Kompas.com.
Ignasius’s reported outburst has been heavily criticised by pilots in various open letters.
Sardjono Jhony Tjitrokusumo, who is a senior pilot, called Ignasius’s reprimand baseless, saying that it came from someone who does not have any knowledge of the aviation industry.
Ignasius was the executive director of state-owned train operator Kereta Api Indonesia before President Joko Widodo appointed him in October as Indonesia’s new transportation minister.
“Don’t make things up and say pilots are at fault if they don’t undergo briefing. It is not part of the required procedures [before taking off],” Sardjono said in a written statement sent to the press.
He said pilots commonly briefed themselves on weather conditions, which, in the case of Indonesia, are based on information provided by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
“There is no such things as pilots being briefed before flight. Pilots of airlines around the world do self-briefings. They get printed weather information from systems used by their [respective] airlines; that information is provided before they fly,” Sardjono went on. “Can you imagine if all pilots from all flights must be briefed on weather conditions by the BMKG? How many of them will have to stand in line for that? Where should they queue? “Don’t be ridiculous, especially for those who have no knowledge of aviation.”
His views were echoed by another pilot, Fadjar Nugroho, who said the BMKG had for some time now been allowing pilots to access weather information — which is constantly updated — on its website, and that the information is the same as that provided in a briefing.
“Don’t admonish us because we get weather information from the Internet; it is after all provided by the BMKG. As aviators, we appreciate human’s lives … our own lives, as well as those of the passengers and our families,” he added.”
Sardjono also questioned the decision to suspend Indonesia AirAsia’s licence to fly the Surabaya-Singapore route, arguing that the plane could have never flown out of Surabaya’s Juanda Airport without approval form authorities in both Juanda and Changi.
“Even if it is outside the authorized schedule, the AirAsia flight on Sunday must have obtained a permit. [It flew] during a holiday season … there must have been a flight approval for extra flights. That is part of [airlines'] Christmas and New Year holiday services,” the senior pilot said.