EU Takes Indonesia AirAsia off No-Fly List

DENPASAR

The European Union has lifted a ban on low-cost carrier Indonesia AirAsia in another boost for the country’s burgeoning aviation industry.

The announcement came from Brussels on Tuesday, and follows the lifting of flight bans on other airlines, including flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia’s Jakarta office told The Bali Times in a statement late on Thursday.

The closure of European airspace to Indonesian carriers was imposed in 2007 following a spate of deadly accidents involving Indonesian aircraft.

Since then safety has improved dramatically, as airlines adhere to international standards and work with aviation-safety experts from other countries, including the United States.

Also enjoying the lifting of the ban this week as smaller carrier Batavia Air. However, no-frills Lion Air remains prohibited from flying to Europe, over continued safety concerns.

AirAsia said a team including the Transport Ministry’s director general of Air Transport, Herry Bhakti, went to Brussels in June to present their case to European authorities that the airline was safe to fly and should be allowed into European airspace.

Sonny Sasono, director of safety and security at AirAsia, was in Brussels for the presentation and said the airline was recertified in September last year in line with Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.

After the decision was made to lift the ban, he said: “Indonesia AirAsia has demonstrated its airworthiness through zero accident since its establishment in 2004. We strictly perform safe operations based on International Civil Aviation Organization standards.”

The airline’s president director, Dharmadi, said the EU had confirmed AirAsia’s commitment to safety in the skies.

“We are proud to announce that we guarantee safe skies for EU citizens. Indonesia AirAsia is a reliable carrier despite the low fares it offers. We will never compromise on safety,” he said.

AirAsia uses Bali as a hub for flights to Australia, and is a subsidiary of AirAsia based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In a separate development, AirAsia announced this week that it will begin operating a “state-of-the-art” booking system from July 11 that will allow up to 1 million bookings per day.

It said its existing bookings system will be down over the weekend, from Friday to Sunday, as the new system is brought online.

AirAsia regional commercial chief Kathleen Tan said the new booking method would bring benefits for travellers.

“The new and improved system will spell for AirAsia’s guests countless benefits, including savings that will come as a result of the more efficient operational processes created by the new system,” she added.

AirAsia said it is pouring technology investment into its expansions in Asia, Australia and Europe.

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