Three Airlines Upgraded to Top Safety Rank

JAKARTA ~ Aviation authorities have upgraded the safety rankings of three domestic airlines to its top category, where previously only flag carrier Garuda Indonesia sat, an official said.

“The three airlines have gone up by one rank to the first category, joining Garuda Indonesia,” air transport director-general Muliawan Suyitno said.

The carriers are Mandala Airlines, Premi Air and Airfast Indonesia, he said.

He did not elaborate on how they had improved their safety measures.

Indonesia, an archipelago nation that relies heavily on air transport, has seen a string of fatal accidents in recent years and has one of the worst safety records in the world.

An Adam Air plane crashed into the sea off Sulawesi island on New Year’s Day, leaving all 102 people on board dead, while in March, a Garuda plane crashed on landing in Central Java, killing 21 people.

In April the US aviation authorities declared Indonesia did not comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards, and in June the European Union banned all 51 Indonesian airlines from its airspace.

Indonesia signed a pact with ICAO in July vowing to improve the safety of its beleaguered industry.

Airlines here were deregulated in the 1990s, encouraging new operators to take to the skies amid massive passenger growth.

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