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Lion Air denies seating four people per three seats

September 6, 2013 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Indonesia’s Lion Air, which made news recently after one of its flights hit a cow on landing, has denied reports that it has been seating four people in sets of three seats on flights from Denpasar in Bali.

Although the airline has firmly rejected the suggestion (carried in a Facebook posting and by other media), the report represents another piece of unfortunate publicity for the carrier, which in April landed one of its late-model Boeing 737-800s in the sea just off the Bali coast, on a flight from Bandung in West Java. The plane missed the runway entirely and broke in half after hitting the water. Many passengers swam ashore and nobody died, though about 45 people were injured.

The hitting-a-cow incident (more recent) was also embarrassing, but the airline draws the line at suggestions it carries four passengers in three seats.

In a statement carried on Plane Talking, Ben Sandilands’ blog on Crikey.com.au, Lion Air said: “The Facebook posting that some media have quoted from is completely incorrect. The posting said four passengers were asked to sit in a row of three seats, this is completely untrue.

“On Sunday and Monday (1-2 September) Lion Air experienced some flight delays but no flights were cancelled.

“ The delays occurred because eight of our pilots called in sick and three asked to go on leave at the last minute. This led to a temporary shortage of pilots. When Lion Air does its roster, we have some pilots in reserve for such instances. But in this case the number of pilots on stand-by proved to be insufficient. As a consequence of the events on Sunday, Lion’s flight operations department has decided that in future it will have more pilots on stand-by in case others call in sick.”

“Some reports in Indonesia said, without citing any sources, that there may have been too few pilots because some had taken industrial action. This is completely incorrect. There was no industrial action.”

“Flights resumed to normal operations as of yesterday afternoon. Over the two days during which Lion schedules around 1000 flights, seven flights, mostly from Bali, were delayed.”

That would seem to set the record straight. Though a European passenger flying from Bali to Jakarta on Sunday, 1 September, reported on Facebook that his departing aircraft was hours late. When it finally departed, overbooked, military personnel helped in the boarding process, he wrote.

The largest private airline in Indonesia, Lion Air is expanding rapidly, having earlier this year signed the biggest contract in the history of civil aviation, with European plane-maker Airbus. Lion placed a firm order with Airbus for 234 “A320 family” aircraft, comprising 109 A320neo, 65 A321neo and 60 A320ceo.

A few weeks ago it made headlines for crashing one of its planes into a cow and skidding off the runway.

The cow mishap at Gorontalo airport on northern Sulawesi island occurred as the Lion Air passenger jet, a B737-900, was landing.

Rather ghoulishly, the pilot, Iwan Permadi, told Indonesia’s state-run Antara news agency that he could smell “burning meat” as the plane ran over the cow. He expressed surprise on learning he had hit a cow as he had thought the animals he could see in front of the plane were dogs.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Yes, brings up the question that if they can fit a whole family on a motor bike why not 4 to 3 seats on a plane? It’s okay to hit dogs but not a cow? We all know how they treat dogs in Indonesia… typical comment.

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