Jakarta. The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, cleared all Indonesian airlines from its EU Air Safety List on Thursday (14/06).
EU keeps tab on all airlines in the world, banning those that do not meet its safety standards from entering the airspace of all EU member states.
"The withdrawal of this flight ban is the most beautiful gift in the past 11 years, since Indonesia was banned in July 2007," Agus Santoso, director general of air transportation at the Ministry of Transportation, said in a statement on Friday.
All Indonesian airlines were put on the European Union Aviation Safety list in 2007, due to various shortcomings in safety, which several times resulted in fatal accidents.
Since then, the ministry and EU have been cooperating to improve Indonesia's safety records. Thanks to the effort, some major airlines were later gradually removed from the list.
Among Indonesia's 68 airlines, only Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua, Indonesia Air Asia, Garuda's subsidiary Citilink Indonesia and Lion Grup's Lion Air and Batik Air were allowed to enter the EU prior to Thursday's announcement.
Violeta Bulc, the European Union's transport commissioner, said in separate statement that she is glad Indonesian airlines are now capable of serving European travelers.
"The EU Air Safety List is one of our main instruments to continuously offer the highest level of air safety to Europeans. I am particularly glad that after years of work, we are today able to clear all air carriers from Indonesia. It shows that hard work and close cooperation pay off," Bulc said.
The EU Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Guérend also extended congratulations.
"Congratulations to our Indonesian partners, especially the Ministry of Transportation and Indonesia's airlines, for the great work they have done in addressing the air safety issues," he said.
No fatal accidents have been recorded since July, when five people died in a Pilatus PC6 Porter aircraft accident. The aircraft, operated by Associated Mission Aviation (AMA) crashed in the mountains of Papua.
Earlier this year, the government built five air traffic control posts in the province, where many regions can be reached only by air.
"We are now in the ranks of the world's aviation elite, so we have a great moral responsibility. First of all, we must be able to maintain and improve the level of safety, security and comfort of our aviation services," Agus said.