Batavia Air: Trust Them To Fly?

I've got this funny feeling, though, that Batavia Air only intends to cater for Indonesians who want to fly from Singapore to Indonesia. Just take a look at their booking website, "Batavia Air - Trust Us To Fly". It's in Bahasa Indonesia!!

Argh. After all those good publicity from Straits Times about how the travellers can fly to Indonesia's 2 destinations: Jakarta & Semarang from Singapore.

Sure Batavia Air has its fair share of problem. Like that one incident in June 2008 at Medan, Indonesia which suspected due to gear problems. Sure hope, they have improved & be able to provide a better service for their international customers (who after all have trusted you to fly even though they did not really understand your website.)

Travellers heading for Jakarta and Semarang in Indonesia will have another airline to choose from when Batavia Air starts flying out of Changi Airport on Wednesday.

The addition will take to 12 the number of carriers flying between Singapore and Jakarta, offering 450 flights a week, Changi Airport Group said in a statement on Tuesday.

Batavia Air will also be the first to offer direct flights between Changi and Semarang - the capital of Central Java and Indonesia's fifth largest city. In total, the Singapore-Indonesia market will be served by 14 carries that will operate more than 750 weekly scheduled flights.

Indonesia is one of Singapore's largest markets for air travel and despite the economic downturn, passenger traffic between Singapore and Indonesia continued to grow in the first ten months of 2009 with an increase of 4.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Batavia Air is the eighth new carrier to commence operations at Changi Airport this year.

When it starts flying on Wednesday, the airport will be served by 86 scheduled airlines operating more than 4,880 weekly scheduled flights to 201 cities in 60 countries.

From Straits Times, "Batavia Air to fly to Indonesia".

Also previously:

After having no international flights for half a year, Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang, will again serve the Semarang – Singapore international route.

Batavia Air airlines has prepared two planes, an Airbus 319 and a Boeing 737-300.

“It is scheduled to have the first flight on November 25,” said Kris Nugroho, head of Transportation, Communication, and Information Authority, in Central Java yesterday (8/11).

Head of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association in Central Java, Heru Ismawan, gave a positive response to this news.

“I hope it can help get the economy in Semarang moving,” he said.

Furthermore, he is hoping the government will hold more international activities in the city.

From, "Batavia Air to Open Semarang – Singapore Route".

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) have released their final report concluding, that a broken cable - the breakage probably being the result of maintenance actions - caused the left main gear unsafe indication leading to the incident together with insufficient knowledge of the landing gear system by the crew, who did not reduce maximum brakes pressure in accordance with the QRH abnormal procedures.

The Airbus A320-200 registration PK-YVE was on approach to Medan, when the crew selected the gear down but the left main gear indication remained red. The crew aborted the approach and entered a holding to troubleshoot the landing gear. The landing gear was recycled repeatedly without any change in the indication. The captain subsequently ordered the first officer to manually lower the gear, again without a change in the indications. The first officer returned the cranking mechanism to its normal position by manually rotating the mechanism back and lowered the gear again manually repeatedly with no effect to the indication. The crew declared emergency, executed the QRH checklist, which involved not arming the ground spoilers, turning off Anti-Skid and reduce maximum brakes pressure to 1000 psi.

The commander then performed the landing onto Medan's runway 05, where the airplane touched down and substantially damaged tyres #1, #2 and #3 (both left main and the inner right main gear) as well as wheels #1 and #2 (left main gear). An evacuation was not necessary, the occupants disembarked onto the runway via stairs brought to the aircraft.

The NTSC found the brakes of wheels #1, #2 and #3 jammed without any indication of the brakes overheating. There was no indication of excessive brakes application by the pilots.

The data off the flight data recorder showed, that the brakes pressure increased to 4032 psi at some time, when the gear was recylced, and remained constant at 4032 psi for the remainder of the flight and landing. The airplane was configured with flaps at 40 degrees and touched down at 126 KIAS with a tail wind component of 5 knots, the landing roll lasted about 41 seconds. The airplane came to a stop 1200 meters from the point of first touchdown. The right main gear touched down first.

The tyre marks suggested, that the airplane bounced. There were no tyre marks for the initial touchdown of the right main gear, however a tyre mark for wheel #3 became visible 200 meters past the tyre marks for tyres #1 and #2. All three tyre marks were heavy and produced a continuous mark for the entire landing roll out.

The crew relied solely on the ECAM gear indications, however did not notice, that the gear lights at the gear lever did not show red suggesting, that the ECAM indication might be false.

Investigators found, that the gear lock down cable was broken. The wheel brakes had locked on when the airplane touched down due to a hydraulics lock, which was the result of an incorrect manual gear extension procedure executed by the crew. The NTSC reasoned, that the actions by the crew showed insufficient knowledge of the landing gear system leading to application of incorrect troubleshooting and rectification procedures.

The crew of a Batavia Air (Indonesia) Airbus A320-200, registration PK-YVE performing flight 7P-591 from Jakarta to Medan (Indonesia) with 133 passengers and 7 crew, told passengers, that there was a problem, while they were holding over Medan for about 40 minutes. The crew could not locate the problem.

Upon landing on runway 05 a tyre on the left hand main gear burst and the aircraft got stuck on the runway. None of the people on board got injured.

The airport was closed for about 6.5 hours until a preliminary investigation was completed and the aircraft was towed off the runway, forcing 10 other arriving flights to divert.

Batavia Air was not available for comments.

From The Aviation Herald, "Incident: Batavia Air A320 at Medan on June 1st 2008, gear problems".

Update on 24/11: this Indonesian news (printed in Bahasa Indonesia, unfortunately) reported about how one Batavia Air plane was forced for an emergency landing at El Tari Kupang because the 'landing wheels' were not operating well.

Pesawat B-373 seri 400 milik maskapai penerbangan Batavia Air, Selasa (24/11), mendarat darurat di Bandara El Tari Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Roda pesawat tidak berfungsi dengan baik, sehingga pilot mengambil keputusan melakukan pendaratan darurat setelah berputar-putar di atas Kota Kupang selama sekitar satu jam.

"Kami pasrah dengan keadaan tersebut. Semua penumpang sudah menangis setelah melihat roda pesawat tidak bisa keluar saat melakukan pendaratan," kata Kepala Perwakilan Nusa Tenggara Timur di Jakarta, Wily Paga, salah seorang penumpang.

Pesawat dengan nomor penerbangan FLT 7P-711 itu bertolak dari Bandara Soekarno-Hatta Cengkareng Jakarta pukul 05.30 WIB dengan tujuan Kupang. Dalam pesawat tersebut terdapat beberapa pejabat penting di lingkungan Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Timur dan Kota Kupang, seperti Asisten I Setda NTT Yosep Aman Mamulak, Kepala Dinas Koperasi dan UKM NTT Paulus Tadung, dan Kepala Dinas Pertamanan Kota Kupang Niki Uly.

Wily Paga mengisahkan, pesawat Batavia Air yang mereka tumpangi, lepas landas dari Bandara Soekarno-Hatta Jakarta sekitar pukul 05.30 WIB, dan sesuai jadwal akan tiba di Bandara El Tari Kupang pada pukul 08.50 WITA. "Karena roda pesawat tidak berfungsi, pesawat jenis Boeing itu sempat berputar-putar di atas Kota Kupang selama sekitar satu jam, sampai akhirnya melakukan pendaratan darurat di Bandara El Tari Kupang pukul 09.30 WITA," katanya.

"Pada saat itu, pramugari telah mengumumkan agar penumpang tetap tenang, karena pesawat akan mendarat darurat. Kami diminta untuk mendengar instruksi pilot. Instruksi yang disampaikan, badan membukuk ke depan dan tangan menahan kursi bagian belakang, karena pesawat akan mendarat darurat," katanya.

Selama berputar-putar di atas Kota Kupang, para penumpang mulai histeris dan menangis, sehingga suasana di pesawat semakin tegang. "Saya sempat meneteskan air mata, karena melihat situasi bertambah memburuk. Pilot akhirnya memutuskan untuk melakukan pendaratan darurat di Bandara El Tari Kupang," katanya.

Mobil-mobil pemadam kebakaran dan ambulans sudah disiagakan di sekitar Bandara El Tari Kupang untuk mengantisipasi kemungkinan hal-hal yang tidak diinginkan.

From Metro TV News, "Batavia Air Mendarat Darurat di El Tari".


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