Banned in Europe, but Garuda still calls Australia home
Ben Sandilands writes:
Ongoing inquiries by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau make it clear that Garuda remained capable of being a menace to air safety in this country until at least 17 December last year.
That was when one of its 737-400s approaching Darwin failed to comply with an air traffic control clearance to descend to 3000 feet and dropped to 2000 feet instead.
The control tower then spotted the jet when it was about 700 feet above the ground some distance north of the runway and ordered a go-around be flown, apparently because of concerns it might crash before reaching the airport.
This is one of two alarming displays of incompetent flying by the Indonesian carrier that are under ATSB investigation as Marwoto Komar, the Garuda captain that crashed a 737 at Yogyakarta on 7 March 2007 prepares to appeal a two year sentence for criminal negligence handed down in a Jakarta court yesterday.
That crash killed 21 people, including five Australians, and was a factor in the EU banning all Indonesian airlines from its airspace indefinitely.
The other incident, first reported in Crikey, occurred at Perth Airport on 9 May last year when another Garuda 737 first abandoned an attempt to land on a runway which was closed for repair.
That crew circled back, ignored a control tower call to abort their landing and then flew low over the construction workers and their equipment to land in the remaining section of the closed runway.
It was spoken of at the time as one of the most gratuitously stupid and dangerous things any airline had ever done at Perth Airport in living memory.
Crikey understands that the notification of the runway’s unavailability was conveyed in the normal manner to the airline for operations planning purposes, and also transmitted to the pilots as a message prior to their approaching Perth.
While the ATSB continues its investigations the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) today said its enhanced audits and monitoring of Garuda in the aftermath of the Yogyakarta crash has not identified "any significant safety issues that warrant a change to Garuda’s operations in Australia."