Adam Air may be shut down after string of accidents

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Indonesian budget carrier Adam Air has been warned by Indonesia's transport minister that unless the airline improves safety it will be shut down. Adam Air has suffered a string of recent accidents.

"We are giving them a chance to improve. If there's no change, we will place them in the third category," said Transport Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal, according to the state's Antara news agency. The third category refers to the lowest a three-category ratings system for airline safety introduced last year. Airlines in the third category will be shut down in three months unless improvements occur. Adam Air is in the second category, which means that although the airline meets minimum requirements some problems still remain. "We give an early warning to make the carrier improve its safety," Djamal told reporters.

The announcement follows the news yesterday that an Adam Air Boeing 737-400 had overshot the runway at Batam island's airport, injuring five of the over 170 people on board. It is the third serious accident in just over a year. On New Year's Day 2007 Adam Air Flight 574 crashed into the ocean near Sulawesi, leaving 102 missing, presumed dead. The following month Flight 172 cracked in half after a hard landing but held together, preventing fatalities. Both aircraft were Boeing 737s.

Danke Drajat, spokesman for Adam Air, said that the airline was making efforts to comply with the demand. "We are completing all manuals and revamping the standard operating procedure," he said.

The Adam Air accidents accounted for two of the three main accidents that caused the European Union to ban Indonesian airlines from EU airspace last year over safety standards. The other, Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, involved a 737 belonging to the state owned flag carrier speeding off a runway at Yogyakarta during an attempted landing; 21 people were killed.