Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boeing, Garuda Indonesia Announce 777 Order

- Garuda Confirms Model Conversions, 2007 Order

SINGAPORE, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA - News) and Jakarta-based Garuda Indonesia today announced at the Singapore Air Show that the airline has ordered four 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The order is valued at more than $1 billion at current list prices.
Additionally, Garuda confirmed a previous unidentified order for seven Next-Generation 737-800s placed in 2007, and announced that it has converted 18 of its existing 737-700s on order to 737-800s and six 777-200ERs on order to 777-300ERs.

"We are extremely pleased with the support provided by Boeing to restructure previous purchase commitments," said Emirsyah Satar, president-director and chief executive officer of Garuda Indonesia. "This will enable Garuda to strategically implement its fleet renewal and expansion plan to meet the demands of a changing marketplace."

Garuda originally placed an order for six 777-200ERs in 1996 and 18 737-700s in 1999, which were recorded on Boeing's order books. With today's announcement, Garuda's total order now stands at 25 737-800s and 10 777-300ERs jetliners. Additionally, the airline acquired purchase rights for an additional 25 737-800s and 10 777-300ERs.

"The Next-Generation 737-800 and 777-300ER's dependability, low operating cost and passenger comfort will provide unmatched value and reliability for our passengers and enhance the position of Garuda as the full-service airline of Indonesia," Satar said.

Garuda's 737s will be fitted with Blended Winglets, which will improve fuel efficiency, increase range, and reduce CO2 emissions and takeoff noise.

"The digitally designed Next-Generation 737-800 and 777-300ER are the most technologically advanced airplane families for the single- and twin-aisle market flying today," said Dinesh Keskar, vice president, Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are honored that Garuda has selected Boeing jetliners to support its strategic modernization plan and we welcome this occasion to strengthen our long-time partnership with Garuda and our commitment to Indonesia's aviation industry."

As new market opportunities develop, Next-Generation 737 operators can grow their fleets with a lower investment in parts, equipment and training. Operators benefit from common flight deck, engines, maintenance and airframe spares. As of Jan. 31, Boeing had logged orders for more than 4,500 Next-Generation 737s, and has unfilled orders for more than 2,000 Next-Generation 737 airplanes worth more than $145 billion at current list prices.

The 777 family of airplanes is the market leader in the 300- to 400-seat segment. The 777 is preferred by airlines around the world because of its fuel efficiency, reliability and spacious passenger cabin. The 777-300ER is the world's largest long-range twin-engine jetliner, capable of carrying 365 passengers up to 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 kilometers). As of Jan. 31, Boeing had logged orders for more than 1,000 777s, and has 353 unfilled orders for 777s with a value exceeding $90 billion at current list prices.

Garuda, the flagship carrier for Indonesia, currently operates a mixed fleet that includes 43 737-300/400/500/800 airplanes as well as 747-400s, and operates both domestic and international routes in Pan-Asia and the Middle East.

Source: The Boeing Company

Garuda captain arrested, charged with manslaughter

Captain Marwoto Komar, the pilot in command (PIC) of a Garuda Indonesia B737-400 that crashed at Yogyakarta in March of 2007 has been arrested and charged with manslaughter. The accident occurred as Garuda Flight GA 200, with seven crew members and 133 passengers on board, arrived at Yogyakarta on a scheduled flight from Jakarta. Twenty-one people lost their lives after the aircraft overshot the runway at Yogyakarta, broke through a fence, crossed a road, and came to rest in a rice paddy where it caught fire.

In October of 2007, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) issued a report on the accident, as well as an English-language media release about their findings. The media release stated that the NTSC's main finding was that "...the flight crew’s compliance with procedures was not at a level to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft."

More specifically, the NTSC media release said this of Capt. Marwoto Komar:

The aircraft was flown at an excessive airspeed and steep flight path angle during the approach and landing, resulting in an unstabilized approach. The PIC did not follow company procedures that required him to fly a stabilized approach, and he did not abort the landing and go around when the approach was not stabilized. His attention was fixated or channelized on landing the aircraft on the runway and he either did not hear, or disregarded the [Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS)] alerts and warnings and calls from the copilot to go around.
Many in the international aviation community have expressed concern that the NTSC investigation fell short by not investigating more fully the reasons behind the actions of the captain, as well as his co-pilot, Gagam Jahman Rochman. The latter was accused of not following company procedures to "take control of the aircraft from the PIC when he saw that the pilot in command repeatedly ignored the GPWS alerts and warnings."

Upon hearing of Marwoto Komar's arrest, the Federation of Indonesian Pilots (FPI) staged a protest rally at the House of Representatives in Jakarta. The pilots, led by FPI president Manotar Napitupulu, told members of the House Commission in charge of transportation that this "criminalization of a pilot" could eventually affect flight safety. Their view is shared by many others.

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA), an advocacy group representing more than 100,000 pilots in more than 95 countries worldwide, issued a statement expressing concern over the arrest of Marwoto Komar, citing concerns that echo those of the FPI. Here is an excerpt from the IFALPA statement:
IFALPA believes that the circumstances of the accident as set forth in the final report of the Indonesian investigation authority leaves many serious questions concerning the crew actions prior to the accident. Central to these concerns are the underlying reasons for the reported behavior of Captain Marwoto Komar. Experienced pilots have considerable difficulty in attempting to explain what is reported in the context of normal airline operations.

The Federation believes that the explanations proffered by the report do not square with the collective experience of our members. The Federation has continually maintained that the report, while final, is in fact incomplete and that additional investigation into the underlying pathology of the crew actions is required to make certain that the factors contributing to the observed actions are fully identified. Unless this is done, there is little possibility that aviation safety in the area of
crew performance can be improved by the lessons of this accident. Clearly, a criminal prosecution at this time may well foreclose further investigation for safety purposes.

IFALPA is firmly of the belief that the criminalisation of individuals involved in accidents and incidents does little to improve air safety. Furthermore, IFALPA strongly insists that the principles recommended in Attachment E of ICAO Annex 13, which hold that there should be no criminal liability without intent to do harm, be the standard to which the crew is held. The Federation demands that any Indonesian criminal proceeding respect both these principles and the concept of due process.

The Federation expects that Captain Marwoto Komar will be released without the need to post a monetary bond as he has agreed to fully cooperate with the police investigation and clearly poses no danger to society. He remains a professional
who was involved in an unfortunate tragedy.

IFALPA will continue to closely monitor the criminal proceedings with the aim of ensuring that the judicial process in Indonesia is fundamentally fair and impartial for all crewmembers.
An article on the Australian news website reports that Marwoto Komar's attorneys had requested that he be released from detention on bail, but that the request had been denied. The article quoted the Yogyakarta Police Chief, who said, "The letter from the suspect's lawyers has been accepted, but bail is not granted yet because we still need him for the investigation."

AdamAir Temporarily stops operations

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Domestic airline company AdamAir announced on Monday it may have to stop its flight operations as of March 21, 2008 because it had failed to pay the insurance premium for its aircraft which due on March 20, 2008.

"We will still fly on March 20 but beginning 00:00 hours on March 21, 2008 we will stop our flight operations," President Director of AdamAir, Adam Suherman said here on Monday.

Based on international aviation law, all aircraft must be insured before they are operated.

He said that the insurance company has sent an insurance cancellation note to AdamAir which fell due on March 20, 2008.

"The flight operations will temporarily be stopped pending the decision of the shareholders on the insurance premium payment," he said.

Adam said that of the 22 airplanes it was operating 12 had been been withdrawn because the company was not able to pay their insurance premium.

The company also failed to pay the premium of the remaining 10 airplanes which were still operated.(*)

Adam Air Skids in Batam

TEMPO Interactive, Batam: Adam Air flight number KI-292 with the route of Jakarta-Batam skidded on the runway of Hang Nadim airport in Batam, Kepulauan Riau, yesterday. The B-737-400 aircraft with 171 passengers slid 70 meters toward one side of runway. Three people were injured with one remaining unconscious. The victims were taken to the hospital of Otorita Batam.

Danke Drajat, director of Adam Air communication department, said there were no severely injured passengers in this incident. “Only several are shocked”, he said. He confirmed all passengers have been evacuated. Adam Air, he said, has submitted this incident to the National Flights Safety Commission.

Razali Akbar, Head of Hang Nadim Airport, said that before the skid, the aircraft had touched the runway but it suddenly flew back. The landing then had to be done again. On the second landing , the aircraft looked unstable. After it landed, the aircraft turned to the right and went off the runway. “It is not clear why it suddenly skidded”, Rajazali said.

Razali said there were no sparks when the aircraft skidded. After it stopped, the front wheel was left dangling while the back wheel was down on the ground. Both left and right wings were broken. “It was raining when the aircraft landed”, he said.

Razali also confirmed that the runway condition was proper for take-off and landing because the viewing distance was 3,000 meters more out of a total of 4,025 meters . The runway and all navigation devices were functioning well. “This condition is adequate for the landing of a B737-400”, he said.

In response to this incident, the provincial police of Kepulauan Riau, held Sugiarto, pilot of Adam Air, while waiting for the KNKT team from Jakarta. Police also secured the plane to prevent any unexpected accident.

For two hours, the airport of Hang Nadim was closed for taking-off and landing. Hence, there were delays for the flight to Natuna (Merpati Airlines) and Jakarta (Air Asia and Lion Air).

The landing of several airlines was changed to another airport. Batavia airline from Jakarta, landed in Pekanbaru. Some of them-- Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air, and Mandala Air-- must return to Jakarta.

Tatang Kurniadi, Head of KNKT, said this incident is being handled by the Directorate of Airworthiness - - DSKU). KNKT only handles the accident incident. However, the minister of transportation ordered KNKT to analyse the incident. “Any incident, even the smallest one, should be of concern,” Tatang said.

Black Box from Adam Air Crash in Celebes Straits Revailed the "Human Error"

JAKARTA (AFP) - The pilots of an Indonesian jet caused a 2007 crash which killed all 102 people aboard by accidentally disconnecting the plane's autopilot, investigators said Tuesday.

The two pilots for budget airline Adam Air were trying to fix a problem with the plane's navigation instruments when they disconnected the device and lost control of the Boeing 737-400, government investigators found.

The jet was carrying 96 passengers and six crew when it plunged into the sea off Sulawesi island on January 1, 2007.

"Without the autopilot, the plane went out of control, listing to the right and pitching down," investigator Santoso Sayogo told a press conference.

Data recovered from the "black box" flight recorder revealed the co-pilot shouted "pull up!" six times before the plane went down.

Other final comments from the pilots were "Do you see it's messed up?" and "it's starting to fly like a bamboo ship!", according to data recovered from the flight recorder.

It also revealed the pilots were concerned they were going off course, but did not send a distress call.

Transport Minister Jusman Syafei Djamal said Adam Air had registered 154 defects in the Boeing 737-400's navigation system in the three months before the crash, showing the planes were poorly maintained.

"The accident happened because of a combination of several factors, including the failure of both pilots to intensively monitor flight instruments, especially in the last two minutes of the flight," Indonesia's transport safety chief Tatang Kurniadi said.

Another investigator said the plane was travelling at 10 times the normal landing speed when it hit the water and would have broken up on impact. No bodies were ever recovered.

Indonesia imposed a three-month flying ban on Adam Air this month after uncovering "violations that could put passengers' safety at risk."

The move followed a series of incidents that raised doubts over the airline's safety record, most recently when an Adam Air Boeing 737-400 with 175 people on board skidded off the runway in foul weather this month.

Last year all Boeing 737-300 aircraft operated by the airline were grounded temporarily after the fuselage of one plane cracked on landing, and in 2006 a jet went missing for several hours, eventually landing many miles from its intended destination.

The three-month ban is part of a push by Indonesia's government to improve the country's air safety record following a series of fatal accidents blamed on lax enforcement of safety regulations, poor maintenance and a lack of investment in transport infrastructure.

Last March, 21 people were killed when a jet from national carrier Garuda skidded off a runway.

Shortly after that, the European Union banned all Indonesian airlines from its airspace over security concerns and the United States advised its citizens not to use them.

Djamal said the government had stepped up its monitoring of the country's airlines and was now conducting quarterly inspections as part of efforts to overturn the EU ban.

"We will provide feedback to the airlines to enable them to improve their safety procedures," he said.

"We will also impose an immediate operating ban if there is any indication that an airliner may be putting passengers' lives at risk."

Black Box from Adam Air Crash at the Celebes Straits Revailed the "Human Error"

By Dita Alangkara (AP)
Published: 2008-03-25 05:15:02
Location: JAKARTA, Indonesia

An Indonesian pilot shouted "Pull up! Pull up!" seconds before his jetliner plunged into the sea last year, killing all 102 people on board, according to an investigation Tuesday that blamed his errors and a faulty navigation system for the disaster.

"This is really bad. It is starting to fly like a bamboo ship," said one of the two pilots before the Boeing 737 crashed, according to comments captured by the cockpit voice recorder. "This is crazy!"

Last week, the government revoked low-cost carrier Adam Air's operating license because of its poor safety record.

The National Transportation Safety Committee said 154 recurring defects in the plane's navigation system were reported in the months leading up to New Year's Day crash, and that the carrier failed to properly address those reports or train pilots to deal with them.

The plane was flying from the main island of Java to an airport in the east of Indonesia when it spiraled from the sky at a height of 33,000 feet. It took around two minutes to hit the sea, the report said.

Several days passed before fisherman and navy boats discovered wreckage from the plane floating on the ocean. Both flight data recorders were eventually recovered from the sea bed, but the plane's mostly intact fuselage remains there.

Initially, the pilots reported a problem with the navigation system, but they sounded unconcerned, even joking at times 20 minutes before it went down. In the course of trying to fix the problem, the jetliner's autopilot disengaged, causing the plane to bank to the right.

The pilots were apparently unaware they were now flying the plane and ignored "a number of initial alerts, warnings and changes to displays" indicating the jetliner's increasingly critical situation, the report said.

"The pilots did not detect and appropriately arrest the descent soon enough to prevent loss of control," it said, adding that they apparently had no training on what to do if the Inertial Reference System failed, nor if the autopilot unexpectedly disengaged.

They made several wrong decisions in the seconds after the autopilot was turned off, the report said.

The accident was one of a spate in Indonesia in recent years, including one involving the national carrier Garuda that killed 21, leading the EU to ban all Indonesian airlines and the United States to warn that they did not meet international standards.

Adam Air was one of dozens of new airlines to emerge in Indonesia after it deregulated its aviation industry in the 1990s. But trained aviation professionals, regulatory oversight and decent ground infrastructure are all lacking in the country, experts say.

The New Year's Day crash was not the first incident involving faulty navigation systems on Adam Air jets.

In February 2006, another of its Boeing 737s went missing for hours following a navigation and communications breakdown and eventually made an emergency landing hundreds of miles from its destination in eastern Indonesia.