Tue, 04 Feb 2003

Errant airline remains unpunished

JAKARTA: Minister of Transportation Agum Gumelar said Monday the government had yet to decide on the sanctions to be imposed on Indonesian Airlines for its failure to transport 1,200 people leaving for a haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia last week.

"We are still collecting information from the air transportation directorate general. No sanction has been decided yet," Agum said.

About 1,000 prospective pilgrims, under the privately managed pilgrimage package operator called ONH Plus were unable to leave for Mecca, as Indonesian Airlines has not yet secured a permit to land in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi authorities refused to allow the airline to land at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport because its flights to the country were not guaranteed by any bank.

The haj pilgrims were later taken by four other airlines -- Garuda Indonesia, Qatar Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Emirates.

The pilgrims were supposed to enjoy exclusive services since they paid more than the government's haj program prices. -- JP