The Indonesian Ministry of Transport (MOT) has decided to embark on a crackdown on flying schools across the country over the next six months to identify those conducting poor-quality courses. According to MOT official Eddy Wijaya, the action will address the lack of skills and knowledge of pilots produced by some of the schools. “MOT feels the current situation has a lot to do with the quality of the courses being offered,” Wijaya said.
In a recruitment exercise of one local carrier recently, only two of 150 recruits passed written and simulator tests while three out of 140 succeeded with another airline. An analysis by the MOT of those who failed revealed that they lacked skills and basic aviation knowledge in areas such as aviation law and navigation. Wijaya acknowledged that the knowledge and skills of newly graduated pilots must improve for aviation in Indonesia to move forward.
In an audit carried out in early 2018 on Indonesia’s 18 flying schools, authorities revoked the licenses of two while six others received a notice to improve.
“Should shortcomings and oversights be found in the same flying schools again when the next audit is carried out, its license will be revoked with no provision for appeal,” Wijaya said. The MOT has mandated each flying school to have a minimum of five single-engine aircraft and one multi-engine aircraft for training.
Although the MOT did not draw a direct relationship between the most recent audit and the three recent accidents involving Lion Air, the move comes as part of an effort to address Indonesia’s broader safety deficiencies.
On October 29, 2018, a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in the Java sea 12 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport. All 189 passengers and crew perished. Ten days later, on November 8, the right wing of a Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER hit a pole outside the passenger terminal at Fatmawati Soekarno Airport in Bengkulu province while taxiing from the gate. On February 16, 2019, a Lion Air Boeing 737-800NG overshot the runway at Supadio International Airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, after landing on a flight from Jakarta.