Indonesia’s transport ministry has made it mandatory for all pilots to go through a face-to-face briefing session with an airline flight operating officer (FOO) before a scheduled departure.
The announcement from the ministry comes after it was revealed that pilots of AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed on Dec. 28 in the Java Sea en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, did not receive a weather report prior to departure. The Indonesian government also urged authorities to take appropriate actions against those responsible for allowing AirAsia to operate flights without the proper authorizations. Flight 8501 was on an unapproved schedule as it was not allowed to fly the Surabaya-Singapore route on Sundays.
“(The FOO briefing is) not only about weather,” Djoko Murjatmodjo, the acting director general for air transportation in Indonesia’s transport ministry, was quoted by The Straits Times as saying, on Monday. “The FOO should also detect if a pilot is not in a good health. FOOs will have to be trained on profiling skills.”
According to Murjatmodjo, those allegedly involved in allowing AirAsia Indonesia to fly beyond its approved flight schedule included airport staff and officials from the transport ministry, The Straits Times reported.
Murjatmodjo also said that the ministry is investigating how Flight 8501 departed on an unauthorized trip on Sunday, because AirAsia Indonesia flights were only authorized to fly from Surabaya to Singapore on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Last week, Indonesia's Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan blamed Flight 8501's pilot for not attending a briefing on weather conditions before departure. However, other Indonesian pilots criticized Jonan’s comments, claiming that his accusations against the pilot were groundless.
“Don't make things up and say pilots are at fault if they don't undergo briefing. It is not part of the required procedures,” a senior Indonesian pilot said in an open letter to the state media, obtained by Jakarta Globe.