|Quoting Aidan (Reply 76):|
Coming from you, HB-IWC, and reading most of your post, I wonder why you despise Indonesia so much? Do you live in Indonesia? If yes, why are you still here in Indonesia? Do you work here? If yes, please find work some place else or stop complaining and keep the discussion on the aviation side.
Your argument is flawed in that it fails to recognize that there is an inherent link between the sad state of your country's government and institutions and the unfolding debacle in the search for a missing aircraft. If you took the time to go through all the contributions in this thread as well as in the previous one then you would see that a number of people who have all worked in the country or are still doing so have posted in equal terms about the complete shambles of the institutions here.
So, while I'd gladly restrict myself to discussing the aviation side of your country, something I have done on many occasions in the past here, I believe that it is impossible to grasp the scope of the drama that has been ongoing for almost a week now without also discussing the local background of this story.
It is clear that political links between the airline involved and the country's highest authorities have over and over again kept the company from being thoroughly investigated, as when the government undertook virtually no action when this same airline suffered an incident whereby one of its aircraft lost all communicational and navigational equipment and, after hours of swerving around, ended up in an airfield hundreds of kilometers away from its destination.
Equally so, this airline's political connections have landed it the traffic rights to serve Singapore in the most illustrious of circumstances. I guess that the fact that the airline's then-Chairman cum Speaker of the House of Representatives invited hundreds of colleagues for a free shopping spree to Singapore on the country's dime must have helped quite a bit.
Your country's infamous ranking in worldwide corruption indices is well known and published, yet I believe it is important that people understand how all of this plays out in practical terms, as when infrastructure projects are only partly completed, if at all, because of huge mark ups and inherent collusion in the tender processes, resulting in the current sorry state of certain local airports where runway overruns are the order of the day during the rainy season, despite so-called major investments in the infrastructure, often with overseas aid, I might add, through development projects of the Asian Development Bank or the German Kredit fur Wiederaufbau.
I have extensive experience in Indonesian aviation where, like in every other industry in the country, corruption is rampant and money talks. The delivery and extension of Airworthiness Certificates and other assorted licenses is a pure money issue, and often these documents are issued without an thorough inspection of the aircraft involved by the regulatory instances. The government, through its various institutions, is perpetually throwing bureaucratic hurdles in front of the airlines, with the sole purpose of keeping the money flowing, because every stempel
, signature or seal, comes at a price. The enforcement of rigorous safety and security standards by these regulatory authorities is the least of these officials’ concerns.
Meanwhile, the situation at the airline level isn’t much rosier. Multiple reports have over the years arisen of malpractices by some of these local airlines, yet the government fails to investigate, let alone take punitive action. Here again, money talks, and airlines are allowed to bully their pilots into flying planes in less than favorable conditions and bend rules to the benefit of the company.
The beleaguered Indonesian air passenger hasn’t exactly been spared either. Just a couple of weeks ago, it transpired that Adam Air – yes the same Adam Air we have been discussing for about a week now – was threatened with a boycott by the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents because of commercial malpractices. As it turned out, Adam was found to deny passengers the right of boarding under all kinds of phony pretexts, in order to make up for rampant overbooking and cancellations. Passengers who turned up on time, were told that they were actually late, that check in had closed but that they could rebook their ticket at a much inflated price. Ahhh, the perennial line “there is a problem, but I can help you…” – another cornerstone of Indonesian Society.
Now, for the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents to take such a foolhardy step as a boycott of one of the key players in the local industry, it is safe to say that the airline must have been interpreting its own conditions of carriage very imaginatively, to use the understatement of the year. Yet, after the initial ban was issued, nothing has ever been heard about it again. Has the issue been resolved? Doubt it. Has money changed hands? You bet.
This example is but one of a long list of malpractices. If you do a search for Indonesian aviation topics over the past couple of years, you will find many more, most of the by Mandala499
and myself. To add one more example, just yesterday, I was confronted once again with the government’s mismanagement of the yearly Hajj Operation. Pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia are delayed for many hours because the government, which is the sole organizer of the Hajj, failed to arrange for adequate facilities at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International airport, resulting in thousands of people relegated to just one little gate. Once again, Indonesia is the laughing stock of the rest of the world.
Overall, the state of the country’s airline industry isn’t good, and, if anything, is further deteriorating as we speak, despite all the big announcements of investigations and clean ups by the government. Talking the talk is easy. Walking the walk is quite another thing.
Your above comments are shortsighted and indicative of a sort of xenophobia that I have experienced many times before. Mind you, I don’t blame you for that, as I believe that your educational system, which is very much a perennial follow up of stating that Indonesia is perfect, does not instill you with the kind critical, analytical and logical skills that are part of the curriculum in other parts of the world. Criticism of the government is still reserved for only a small part of the population here, and most people, although they are to some extent aware of the malpractices, prefer to just look the other way and go on taking care of their own personal needs. If anything, the best reaction one can hope for is the previously stated TII – This Is Indonesia.
Yet, that is exactly where lies the problem. In many other countries in this world, in the face of the current disaster and the ensuing incompetence in the search and rescue operation – I am talking here about the fake announcement that the plane had been found and that there were 12 survivors – political heads would have rolled. The Minister of Transportation as well as the head of the search and rescue operation, the commander of the Hasanudin airbase, would have been forced out of office for gross incompetence and negligence. Not so in Indonesia, mainly because of the lackluster reaction of the public opinion at large in the face of this incompetence.
That is where you come in, Aidan
, because rather than shooting the messenger – in this case me – you should shoot the message. It is high time for you and your fellow countrymen to stand up and indicate that you have had enough of the current situation and that change is needed. Because, let me ask you, what good has there been in overthrowing a brutal dictatorship almost 9 years ago, if the current state of the affairs in the country is actually worse and deteriorating. Resorting to the popular line that all things foreign are bad and foreigners here and abroad are only intent on undermining the country and its strategic commercial interests, might be easy and by doing so you would only be emulating the official line of your government, yet most expatriates working in Indonesia are going out of their way to make things better, often to the expense of bitter disillusionment.
I promise you that, if no serious action is taken in the Indonesian Civil Industry, the string of incidents and disasters will continue, and more innocent passengers, mostly Indonesians, as most foreigners have the financial means to go for the more expensive yet more trustworthy options, will perish because of a combination of endemic corruption, corporate recklessness and gross incompetence.
I’d be glad to discuss these issues with you in more detail. Just send me a private message and we can set up a meeting anywhere in the country.