The Indonesian transport ministry has banned AirAsia Indonesia from flying six of its domestic flights in the country as part of a broader crackdown on perceived violations of government regulations by the low-cost Malaysia-based airline, according to media reports. The move comes just a day after authorities in Indonesia suspended several aviation officials after it was found that AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed into the Java Sea on Dec. 28, did not have the required authorization to fly on that day.
The bans on the AirAsia flights, which prohibit it from flying on key domestic routes from Surabaya to the capital city of Jakarta, Bali and Bandung -- capital of West Java province -- and from the northern city of Medan to Palembang, highlight the depth of Indonesia’s air safety problems, aviation experts claimed. The airline has already been suspended entirely from flying the Surabaya-Singapore route.
Moreover, even as Indonesia’s transport ministry carries out an extensive review of all flight approvals in the country, a number of other low-cost carriers have also come under scrutiny. Lion Air -- a rapidly expanding Jakarta-based airline -- has been barred from flying nine of its weekly services in the aftermath of the AirAsia disaster, according to media reports.
However, many aviation experts reportedly described the Indonesian government’s reaction as “overkill.”
“Do you want to crack down and stop everything? Or shouldn't you just say -- fix the problem or I'll revoke your license,” Gerry Soejatman, an Indonesian aviation analyst, reportedly said.