Sun, 21 Nov 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Domestic airline operators are demanding that the government limit air liberalization, which will be in line with ASEAN Open Sky in 2015. The concern is that liberalization will have a negative impact on the national aviation industry.

According to PT Sriwijaya Air Commercial Director, Toto Nursatyo, limits must be applied, for example, in the exchange of traffic rights. He said that many big countries support limited liberalization, such as Japan, India, Canada and Russia.

Indonesia’s main problem, said Toto, was not the preparedness of the national industry, but how far Indonesia needs that policy. Some airlines even feel that the ASEAN Open Sky should not be operational yet. Bilateral agreement is sufficient to regulate traffic right, capacity and flight frequency.

ASEAN Open Sky is a policy that aims to open air traffic between ASEAN countries. The policy was committed by all heads of states in Bali Concord II agreement during the ASEAN 2003 Summit.

A more solid response came from the Association of National Air Transportation (INACA). According to INACA Secretary General, Tengku Burhanuddin, the local flight industry was not ready for ASEAN Open Sky. The government must first strengthen domestic industry before opening the air to other countries.

Herry Bhakti Singoyuda, the Director General of Air Transportation from the Transportation Ministry, said that even though Indonesia agreed with the ASEAN Open Sky policy, the government should prioritize its domestic interests, by issuing, for example, regulations preventing foreign airlines to under-sell domestic airlines.