Indonesia Wants to Issue Flight Permits Online


FEBRUARY 09, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia will implement an online flight-permit approval system at eight airports by mid-February to ease supervision of airlines as well as to reduce bureaucracy, a director at the Transportation Ministry said.

The government has imposed stringent supervision on the aviation sector in the wake of the crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 on Dec. 28, while en route from Surabaya, East Java, to Singapore.

Indonesia AirAsia, which operated the ill-fated plane, was subsequently found to have violated the conditions of its permit, which did not allow it to operate that day.

The government later suspended 61 flights of five carriers after an investigation found that they did not have valid permits to fly.

“There are about 200 airports in the country, so after these eight airports, we will proceed [to implement] the system at all the other airports. We need time to put the system in place,” the director of aviation at the Transportation Ministry, Muhammad Alwi, said last week.

Flight permits include the availability of time slots for aircraft to fly and land, as well as permits to secure routes.

The eight airports that will provide the online permits include the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang, Banten; Kualanamu airport in Medan, North Sumatra; Juanda airport in Surabaya, East Java; Hasanuddin airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi; and Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali.

Alwi said the ministry needed about three months to implement the system at all other airports in the country.

He added that the ministry would coordinate with state-owned airport operators Angkasa Pura I and Angkasa Pura II.

“These two [companies] operate about 26 airports,” he said, adding that the ministry had to first integrate the new system, in order for flight information to be connected to central air traffic controllers, officers in the field and air traffic supervisors.

Alwi believes the implementation of the online system will not only ease the burden on regulators, but also help airlines.

“In future, to take care of permits for routes and time slots, [airlines] don’t need to come to the Transport Ministry’s office. The airlines can update and view information about that matter anywhere,” he said.

The director of aviation indicated that the ministry would provide the airlines with passwords to access the system.

Alwi said the ministry created a legal framework for the system with the issuance of a regulation on Jan. 20 about time slots.

Arista Atmadjati, an aviation expert at the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, meanwhile welcomed the new system.

“I have received inputs from national airlines. They often complain that foreign airlines gets time slots easier [compared to local airlines]. With a more open system, the ministry can be more objective in deciding on the allocation of time slots,” he said.

On Monday, state-owned lender Bank Negara Indonesia signed a cooperation agreement with the aviation directorate general at the Transportation Ministry, which will allow the bank to collect non-tax revenues derived from the permit fees the airlines pay to the government.

BNI president director Gatot Suwondo said the lender has been providing services to the ministry, including facilitating the payment of ministry officials’ salaries and collecting some non-tax revenues for sea transportation.