ASEAN’s island airports safety questioned

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IFWhile ASEAN member states such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are pouring funds into their glitzy main airport hubs to cope with ever-increasing traveller numbers, smaller airports in popular tourism destinations are apparently missing out on modernisation, plane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have said.

Boeing reacted on the crash of one of its 737 jets operated by Indonesia’s low cost airline Lion Air which crashed at Bali airport on April 13.

The crash, which was most likely caused by wind shear – the sudden change in wind speed and direction – could have been avoided if the airport had an appropriate detection system, the plane maker said.

Though the phenomenon of turbulent winds is common in equatorial Southeast Asia, airports at some of the region’s best known holiday spots in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines do not have detection systems on the ground to warn pilots, according to airport officials.

This includes – apart from Bali – popular holiday destinations such as Koh Samui in Thailand, Langkawi in Malaysia and Cebu in the Philippines.

A ground warning system, which just costs about $1 million, could help spot dangerous winds in the plane’s flight path, giving pilots more time to avoid them, the experts said. In fact, none of the airports in Indonesia or the Philippines have a wind shear alert system on the ground that could help avoid crashes such as the one that happened in Bali.

Just Thailand’s Phuket airport installed a wind shear alert system after a plane operated by former Thai low-cost carrier One-Two-Go crashed in 2007, killing 90 people and causing the company to change its name afterwards into Orient Thai Airways. The island of Krabi followed by example.

The situation shows the dark side of ASEAN’S burgeoning aviation industry in a region home to 600 million people who are increasingly becoming mobile, with low-cast carriers such as AirAsia and Lion Air expanding rapidly. However, it seems that the sector is unable to catch up with safety standards and to deliver qualified personnel. Apart from a chronic shortage of weather detectors at the region’s airports, there are too few runways, making flight routing a complex task for mostly understaffed traffic control teams, and there are too many unexperienced young pilots fresh from flight training schools manning the growing fleets.

A view at the list of ASEAN airlines banned from flying to the European Union – which demands highest safety standards – shows how precarious the situation is:

Indonesia
All airlines except Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, PremiAir, Indonesia Air Asia and Metro Batavia
Lion Air was the latest Indonesian airline banned from flying to the EU

Philippines
All airlines banned from entering EU airspace since 2009,  including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Philippines

Thailand
One-two-Go Airlines (now defunct)

Cambodia
Siem Reap Airways International (subsidiary of Bangkok Airways, now defunct)

No restrictions for all other ASEAN airlines.

The UN Airline Safety List for Southeast Asia is a risk assessment regional airlines where Indonesian airlines are ranked particularly low. Download here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

While ASEAN member states such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are pouring funds into their glitzy main airport hubs to cope with ever-increasing traveller numbers, smaller airports in popular tourism destinations are apparently missing out on modernisation, plane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have said.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

IFWhile ASEAN member states such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are pouring funds into their glitzy main airport hubs to cope with ever-increasing traveller numbers, smaller airports in popular tourism destinations are apparently missing out on modernisation, plane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have said.

Boeing reacted on the crash of one of its 737 jets operated by Indonesia’s low cost airline Lion Air which crashed at Bali airport on April 13.

The crash, which was most likely caused by wind shear – the sudden change in wind speed and direction – could have been avoided if the airport had an appropriate detection system, the plane maker said.

Though the phenomenon of turbulent winds is common in equatorial Southeast Asia, airports at some of the region’s best known holiday spots in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines do not have detection systems on the ground to warn pilots, according to airport officials.

This includes – apart from Bali – popular holiday destinations such as Koh Samui in Thailand, Langkawi in Malaysia and Cebu in the Philippines.

A ground warning system, which just costs about $1 million, could help spot dangerous winds in the plane’s flight path, giving pilots more time to avoid them, the experts said. In fact, none of the airports in Indonesia or the Philippines have a wind shear alert system on the ground that could help avoid crashes such as the one that happened in Bali.

Just Thailand’s Phuket airport installed a wind shear alert system after a plane operated by former Thai low-cost carrier One-Two-Go crashed in 2007, killing 90 people and causing the company to change its name afterwards into Orient Thai Airways. The island of Krabi followed by example.

The situation shows the dark side of ASEAN’S burgeoning aviation industry in a region home to 600 million people who are increasingly becoming mobile, with low-cast carriers such as AirAsia and Lion Air expanding rapidly. However, it seems that the sector is unable to catch up with safety standards and to deliver qualified personnel. Apart from a chronic shortage of weather detectors at the region’s airports, there are too few runways, making flight routing a complex task for mostly understaffed traffic control teams, and there are too many unexperienced young pilots fresh from flight training schools manning the growing fleets.

A view at the list of ASEAN airlines banned from flying to the European Union – which demands highest safety standards – shows how precarious the situation is:

Indonesia
All airlines except Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, PremiAir, Indonesia Air Asia and Metro Batavia
Lion Air was the latest Indonesian airline banned from flying to the EU

Philippines
All airlines banned from entering EU airspace since 2009,  including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Philippines

Thailand
One-two-Go Airlines (now defunct)

Cambodia
Siem Reap Airways International (subsidiary of Bangkok Airways, now defunct)

No restrictions for all other ASEAN airlines.

The UN Airline Safety List for Southeast Asia is a risk assessment regional airlines where Indonesian airlines are ranked particularly low. Download here.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you like this post?
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