Review of Air Regulations Urged

JAKARTA ~ The National Transportation Safety Committee wants a review of regulations that allow pilots to land in low visibility.

A Mandala Airlines Boeing 737-200 overshot the runway and landed in a swamp at East Kalimantan’s Tarakan airport on Tuesday. All 110 people on board were unharmed.

“We will ask the government to review the regulations that allow pilots to decide whether they can land in low visibility situations,” committee chairman Setyo Raharjo said.

He said that the committee wanted the government to revert to an older system where a specific minimum visibility for safe landing was set for each airport.

“And if necessary, airports should shut down if visibility levels go lower than the minimum,” he said, adding that the minimum level would depend on the equipment and signal systems available at each airport.

The committee is a government agency made up of civil aviation officials that investigates air accidents.

Raharjo said that the minimum visibility at Tarakan airport should have been 800 meters. The pilot decided to attempt landing with visibility at half that distance.

Haze from forest and ground fires is an annual occurrence affecting Indonesia as well as neighboring Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, posing a nuisance to aviation as well as health problems to residents.

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