Thu, 18 Aug 1994

Garuda still using baggage firm despite press barrage

JAKARTA (JP): Garuda Airlines is unlikely to terminate its contract with the company entrusted with baggage handling at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport despite allegations employees have been rifling passenger's bags.

The company, PT Jakadara, is the sole firm entrusted with moving baggage from planes' storage sections to the luggage retrieval belts at the airport.

A top Garuda Airlines official, who asked not to be named, told The Jakarta Post Tuesday that the company was concerned at the newspaper reports on the involvement of PT Jakadara employees in the theft.

However, the official said that the airline will not revoke its contract with the service firm in the near future.

"There are some provisions in the contract forbidding us to unilaterally terminate it," he said.

The official would not give details of those provisions.

Garuda Airlines, along with other airlines, have employed PT Jakadara to handle their clients' cargo and the aircraft cleaning at the airport for years.

The official said thus far the airline company has not received complaints of theft from passengers.

"True, we often receive reports on missing baggage. But, in fact, it is not stolen but misplaced instead," the official said.

PT Jakadara's management is refusing to comment on the allegations of theft.

Neneng, a secretary for the company, said, "All directors are outside the office."

Police announced on Monday that they had arrested six employees of PT Jakadara for alleged baggage theft at the airport.

The suspects

The suspects were identified as Ramli, 29, a resident of Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta; Waludin, 28, a resident of Jatinegara, East Jakarta; Sudjimin, 27, a resident of Cilandak, South Jakarta; Deden Jaelani, 21, a resident of Pengadegan, South Jakarta; Firdaus, 25, and Eddy Mulyadi, 20. The addresses of the latter were not disclosed.

Aside from the six, the police have also arrested the two fences who allegedly bought the stolen goods. The fences were identified as Tjong Po Sie, alias David, 34, a resident of Jl. Raya Kedoya, West Jakarta, and Ricky Viktor Liem, 25, a resident of Taman Dutamas, West Jakarta.

Police investigated the thefts after receiving reports from Merpati airlines, which also hires the baggage handling firm. Merpati complained that two of its customers, Mrs. Siregar and Mrs. Sahra, had the contents of their baggage, including jewelry, stolen at the airport in the middle of July.

The thefts occurred between the unloading process and the transferring of the baggage via vehicles to the baggage retrieval room. (jsk)