Too many flights are arriving each hour at Jakarta’s main Soekarno-Hatta Airport and for safe operation the numbers will be cut back.
Indonesia is about to act following a series of major crashes that have killed more than 300 people over the past year.
Airwise.com and Yahoo News quoted Muzaffar Ismail, director of aircraft operations at Indonesia’s transport ministry, saying air traffic would be limited to 62 take-offs and landings per hour, to ease workload for the airport’s air traffic controllers.
That represents a decrease of almost 14% at peak hours. Landings at present can reach 72 per hour.
“With the high frequency of flights, there is a greater risk of collisions and accidents,” Ismail said.
A least 40 air accidents have happened in Indonesia since 2001, according to the website aviation-safety.net. They include Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed into the Java Sea last December, killing 162 people. More than 120 people died in June when a military transport plane crashed, while the crash of a Trigana Air aircraft in Papua in August killed all 54 aboard.
The New York Times reported that Indonesia scored just 61% for “airworthiness” in a May 2014 UN report, behind lesser-developed regional neighbours such as Laos and Myanmar.
Air travel in Indonesia has expanded greatly in recent years, leaving Indonesian airports struggling to cope
The changes are designed to even out the flow, with more flights scheduled for off-peak hours. Thus, the overall number of take-offs and landings per day may not be affected.
Airwise.com quoted a Jakarta-based aviation consultant asking a very good question: “If 72 flights an hour was not safe, then why did they approve it in the first place?”
Written by Peter Needham