Calls are growing for Indonesia AirAsia to be banned from flying to Australia following revelations that one of the airline’s planes, which crashed into the Java Sea in 2014, killing all 162 passengers and crew aboard, made 78 trips between Perth and Bali with a mechanical fault in the 12 months before the tragedy.
The ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program asked aviation experts to track the plane in the year leading up to the crash.
The Transport Workers’ Union has demanded that the Minister for Transport conduct an urgent review of safety, training and maintenance standards at the airline, ABC News reported.
“It is clear Australian lives have already been put at risk by this airline – the same aircraft with a fault which led to the crash was flown between Perth and Bali 78 times,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said.
The Minister must be able to guarantee the safety of passengers flying in Australia and clearly in this case he simply cannot.”
Among issues raised by the ABC was an allegation that student pilots who failed flight simulator tests in Australia went on to receive their licences in Indonesia.
A report into the crash by Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee last December showed a persistent problem with a crack on the plane’s rudder prompted the pilots to restart the computer system which in turn disabled the autopilot.
The problem with the plane’s rudder had been recorded 23 times over the previous 12 months.
Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, crashed en route from Surabaya to Singapore on 28 December 2014. Following the crash, the TWU wrote to the Minister calling for all the airline’s flights to be suspended pending an audit of its staff training, maintenance of aircraft and industrial relations conditions.
The TWU has also raised concerns about standards in other foreign airlines.
“Open Skies policies allowing foreign airlines greater access to Australian routes are importing a culture of lower standards on safety and employee rights which ultimately threatens the livelihoods of aviation workers here,” Sheldon said.
“It is the job of the Government to ensure Australian standards on safety and employee conditions are upheld.”
Edited by William Sykes