Faisal Maliki Baskoro
The Indonesian National Air Carriers Association has appealed to the Transportation Ministry to overturn new penalties imposed on airlines for canceled and delayed flights.
Along with requesting the government revise a decree on “late penalties,” a letter to the ministry by the body known as Inaca asked for the regulation’s start to be postponed, said Tengku Burhanuddin, the industry body’s secretary general.
According to the regulation, which is slated to take effect on Nov. 8, airline operators will have to pay Rp 300,000 ($34) in compensation to passengers for flights that are more than four hours late.
There are more than 10 airline operators in Indonesia. The operators have developed a reputation for poor service.
“A clause on the Rp 300,000 penalty actually overlaps with another government rule on the same case,’’ Tengku said.
Under the old regulation, airline operators must provide compensation, including food, lodging and passenger travel, should a flight be cancelled.
The new regulation also requires airline operators to become clients of an insurance consortium that would cover any accidents or other liabilities.
Tengku said the regulation on insurance would overlap with the existing one because the earlier rules state that coverage is already factored into the cost of airfares.
Beyond this issue, airline operators say they need more time to adjust to the new regulation.
“Because of that, we want the government to postpone and revise the regulation,’’ Tengku said.
Commenting on the new regulation, the Indonesia Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI) said the regulation would not effectively address the industry’s existing problems, namely delays, poor service and flight cancellations.
YLKI chairman Tulus Abadi said the regulation would not be applicable because there is already a rule that regulates compensation and responsibility for delays.
“Should the new regulation be imposed, the Rp 300,000 penalty would not be that big. The old regulation has already put in place a regulation to compensate ticket loss and lodging,’’ he said.
Tulus said that the government should not revoke the old regulation.
Tony Tyler, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, said that poor conditions at Indonesia’s airports have been costly for international airliners, making them a major cause for concern.