By Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.
Apr 27, 2007, 08:29
On the 2nd April this year, corrupt police colluding Bali travel agent and purveyor of self-interested mass tourism falsehoods, John M Daniels of PT Bali Discovery Tours told the “world” (his list of 17,000 email addresses) that the Indonesian Director General of Civil Aviation at the Department of Transportation, Budhi Muliawan Suyitno was very confident the American Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) was likely to soon remove Bali International Airport from its warning list after a team from the TSA went to Bali in March. Let us explain that unlike with US foreign policy involving foreigners, the TSA has to tell the absolute truth to US citizens. However, while the TSA’s warnings about Bali’s airport still stand and are displayed on their web site (as well as advised to all US citizens when they buy tickets for and / or check in going to Bali), things just got worse because the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just lowered its safety rating for all Indonesian airports to the worst there is!
OK, before we cover what the FAA rating means, let us first of all thank Mr. Daniels for bringing the TSA warning to everyone’s attention. You see, the TSA warning is not about aircraft or airport safety per say, it is about security. There have been several quickly muted warnings in the past about terrible security at Bali’s International Airport, in fact the Balinese police unlawfully detained, seized the passport of and threatened one foreigner with being shot as a spy when he reported the security fiasco he witnessed at Ngurah Rai / Denpasar Airport. This on top of reports of foreign airlines having to provide their own security staff to screen passengers and monitor their baggage as it went through the airport luggage handling system to make sure it was not tampered with sent a shiver down many peoples’ spines. All along the Indonesian Authorities and Balinese Police maintained Bali’s Airport met International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations when it did not. Falsehood purveyor Jack Daniels even tried to lure foreigners back to Bali with the utter nonsense that Japanese Experts had given Ngurah Rai the security thumbs up (see: Jack Daniels Bali) when these “experts” were in fact democracy advocates from Japan’s International Cooperation Agency! Typical nasty Indonesian and American J Daniels lies, lies, lies.
All along, missed by many including us (but no longer thanks to Jack Daniel’s gaff) was official recognition that Bali International Airport was a significant terrorism risk with major security flaws. In short, security is so bad at Denpasar Airport in Bali that terrorists are able to put men and bombs onto planes that use it, period. What makes matters worse for the Indonesian / Balinese Authorities is that the TSA gave them a list of improvement that had to be met within 90 days to avoid the warning; the Balinese police and Indonesian Government failed to rectify their International security agreement breeches even when the Americans handed them details of what needed to be done on a plate. That is how inefficient and arrogant the Balinese police are, remember that. And let us not forget that a recent Australian police led JI terrorist cell bust in East Java revealed strong evidence of many further JI members and much greater capability than previously thought, so terrorism risks in Bali seem to be greater now then ever before.
But now comes the new FAA rating (April 16th, 2007), which is something completely different on top of the TSA’s terrorism warning. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has just ranked all of Indonesia’s airspace and airports unsafe; Indonesia has the lowest possible rating, be warned. This of course comes on the heels and as a result of the recent spate of airline and airport problems and fatalities in Indonesia, where it has been divulged that not only has the RI failed to install many air traffic control safety systems but that those it has often haven’t worked for months, even years in total breach and flippant disregard for their International obligations. The USA officially says it is unsafe to fly into or out of Indonesia.
Part of the problem with air travel or anything else for that matter in Indonesia is that the government and authorities there are proven habitual liars and buck passers; the recent Garuda airliner crash illustrates this to perfection. Let us not forget how state owned Garuda Indonesia ordered the tailfin emblem and Garuda name to be painted over immediately after the crash in one of the most pathetic and nasty attempts to cover-up the truth ever made in aviation history. Then the pilot blamed a sudden tail wind and down draft which weather men and crash site witnesses say did not occur; the likely truth being he flew the plane in recklessly fast (twice the speed it should have been going) to get a financial bonus. You see, Garuda were rewarding pilots who did not use up more expensive fuel used in aborted landings by paying them a bonus for landing first time! Oh, sorry SBY (mini-Suharto), did your nation [sic] forget to mention this?
Of course the airline and pilot are not alone in trying to pass the buck and deflect attention from the truth; the Indonesian Government has been hard at that too! Mini-Suharto (President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) and his cronies have been blaming Indonesia’s appalling recent air disaster record on aging aircraft; at one point they even claimed there might have been design faults in the world’s most popular commercial aircraft, the Boeing 737! This in spite of the fact the Garuda 737-400 that crashed was only 15 years old out of an expected 30 year lifespan. But blaming badly designed (yeh right) and / or “old” aircraft should come as no surprise to anyone who knows and hates Indonesians, because like common thieves Indonesians do not like accepting the blame for anything. The fact is that apart from having apparently gung-ho pilots out to make a couple of dollars at the expense of passenger safety, Indonesia does not have the human resources to properly maintain their aircraft, they have constructed dangerous airports with shorter than recommended landing runways with poor to no overrun safety, and they have failed to invest in landing control systems which would tell even the densest pilots they were going too fast!
You see, Jakarta can not accept the truth when it shows them to be what they are, unprofessional chiseling cheats; they have to blame something or better still someone else. SBY and company’s solution to force Indonesian carriers (airlines) to operate aircraft under 10 years old is probably a) a smokescreen for their own citizens, b) an attempt to restore foreign confidence under false pretences, and c) an opportunity to make some corruption money as state owned Garuda would need to invest in a new fleet! But making Garuda and other Indonesian airlines buy new aircraft will not solve the problem, just as a new car does not solve the problem of a habitual DUI. The answers are the Indonesian Government need to stop individuals bleeding money from the state so that it can be invested in ground control systems, and they need to create the environment where Indonesians are properly trained to be able to operate and maintain such complicated potential death traps. But that would mean leading Indonesians by example from the top and investing money in education, which looks like it is not going to happen for a long time if at all.
Indonesia likes to present itself as a developing decent nation, but the facts speak louder than and show a different story to the words they speak. The problems for Jakarta are education costs money and breeds discontent, plus making Indonesia’s aircraft, airways and airports safe requires money; money the people in charge of the RI are notorious for milking off into their own bank balances. And do not believe things will get any better on that front soon, just look at how corruption, the root of their safety and other problems, has increased even since the fall of Suharto. You want to significantly minimize the risk of dying in a plane crash and / or aircraft terrorism attack, stay well clear of anything Indonesian.