He don't fly Indonesian airlines, so he's not worried. But some folk are miffed:EU`s flight ban begins showing impact on Indonesia
By Andi Abdussalam
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia begins to feel the impact of the European Commission`s plan to ban Indonesian airline companies from flying in its airspace, though certain circles said that it would not affect domestic flights.
In less than a week after Thursday`s reports that the European Commission would ban 51 Indonesian airline companies from flying to the European Union member countries as of July 6, 2007 due to flight safety concerns, air travel operators in Indonesia began complaining this weekend over a blow to the tourism sector.
European tourists holidaying in Indonesia are now advised by European travel agents to cancel their domestic flights for scheduled visits to other Indonesian cities.
"We have received complaints from several travel agents in Bali and Surabaya that their European guests are urged to cancel their flights to other Indonesian cities," Chairman of the Bali office of the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA), Al Purwa said at the weekend.
Concerns over a possible impact on Indonesian tourism of the European Commission`s action have been raised by several business operators. "The European Commission`s decision step to ban Indonesian airline companies from flying to the region will have a serious impact on tourist arrivals," chief of the South Sulawesi chapter of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) Andi Ilhamsyah Mattalatta said.
French and German tourists who are traveling from Bali to Surabaya, are now urged to cancel their flights to Manado, North Sulawesi, while other European tourists holidaying in Bali and intending to travel to Makassar, South Sulawesim are also urged to cancel their flight plans.
"This is serious. While Indonesian airline companies had been banned from flying to Europe, the ban also dealt a major blow to domestic tourism as it would also affect the world`s confidence in flights in Indonesia," Al Purwa said, while adding that it would become even worse if major tourist supplier countries such as Japan and Australia followed suit.
Tourists in European Union countries planning to visit Indonesia are asked by their travel agents in their countries to sign a statement that they would not use Indonesian aircraft.
"If the European tourists ignore the agreement and use Indonesian aircraft to fly to other domestic destinations, insurance companies would not cover such trips," Purwa said.
The EU ban could reduce the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia. According to Andi Ilhamsyah Mattalatta, the ban on Indonesian airline companies rom flying to Europe would pose difficulties to Indonesia in achieving its projection of six million tourist arrivals in 2007.
Previously, ASITA Chairman Ben Sukma said the ban would have no direct impact on air transportation in the country. "The ban would have no adverse effect as no Indonesian aircraft is now flying straight to destinations in Europe," he said.
A similar voice was also aired by Vice President Jusuf Kalla. He said the ban would pose no problem as national airline companies such as the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia had no scheduled flights to any European destination but the ban should be responded to positively.
"The positive thing is that it will make us more introspective about flight safety," the vice president said, adding that criticism of flight safety did not come only from the European Union but also from the Indonesian community as well as the press.
Therefore Indonesian airline companies must continue to improve their flight safety. "For the time being, there is no problem. So, there is no formal effect, only a psychological effect," he said.
Sukma and Purwa concurred with the vice president. "The ban should prompt the flight regulator, in this case the ministry of transportation, to step up its supervision, which has been rather lacking, of the national airline companies," Sukama said.
Purwa on the other hand asked the government to urge domestic flight operators to improve the quality of their fleet. "National airline companies should improve their rating, such as from grade three to grade two, and Garuda, the national flag carrier, must raise its grade to grade one," he said.
In the meantime, The Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) urged the government to act promptly. "The government could among other things ask for a clarification on the matter or retaliate in the same way if the ban is really implemented," INACA`s secretary general, Tengku Baharuddin, said.
He did not rule out a retaliation because if the EU really implements the ban, the existing aviation agreement between Indonesia and European countries will automatically become invalid.
Baharuddin said he was surprised by the the EU`s decision because the air agreement signed by Indonesia and Europe did not mention safety requirements and assessment including a requirement for certain European airlines to audit an Indonesian airline company.
The agreement only covers such matters as traffic, flight slots, taxation and seat capacity. If the aviation accord with Europe no longer applies, it is proper for Indonesia as a sovereign country to take a firm stand, he said. (*)
and the poverty flight:http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/02Jul2007_biz42.php
and of course, there's this, which confirms the worst:http://images.fotosearch.com/bigcomps/PHD/PHD502/AA050365.jpg