Yohannie Linggasari & ID/Inneke Lady
Indonesian airline Sky Aviation assured the public that the Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 is safe during a media conference unveiling the first of 12 planes purchased by the small domestic airline.
Sky Aviation’s Rp 367 billion ($38 million) purchase will double the carrier’s fleet and effectively hang the future of the airline on the safety of the problem-prone plane.
Russian carrier Aeroloft recently grounded nearly half of its Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) fleet amid technical problems and on Sunday one of the airline’s remaining SSJ100 suffered an engine failure during an attempted takeoff, according to Interfax news agency.
Sky Aviation’s head of marketing Sutito Zainudin said the company was working hard to restore the public’s trust in the passenger jet.
“We will prove that the SSJ100 is safe and we will regain the public’s trust,” Sutito told Kompas.com.
A SSJ100 crashed into West Java’s Mount Salak during a promotional flight out of Jakarta last May. The cause of the accident — which killed at least 45 people — was declared by Indonesia’s National Committee for Transportation Safety (KNKT) to be pilot error.
Sky Aviation had already inked the 12-plane deal at the time of the crash, with the delivery delayed until the Indonesian Aviation Authority had tested the aircraft.
The authority certified the SSJ100 for domestic flights in November last year, giving the passenger jet the approval to fly “without restrictions” in Indonesian airspace.
The certification was issued four months after Indonesian aviation officials visited Sukhoi Civil Aviation’s Russian factory.
“This validation confirms compliance of the SSJ100 to certification requirements of the Indonesian Aviation Authority,” the company said in a statement. “[This allows] its export to Indonesia and operation by Indonesian airlines without restrictions.”
Sky Aviation president director Krisman Tarigan said the plane had been certified to fly by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
“[The plane’s] safety, reliability and spare parts are guaranteed through the Super Care Assessment Program with Super Jet International,” Krisman told Merdeka.com.
Sky Aviation plans to increase passenger loads by 70 percent as it eyes new routes out of Makassar.
“Sky Aviation can support the Indonesian economic hub,” he said, “Especially in areas that need air transportation.”
The first SSK100 plane arrived on Wednesday, with the airline expecting to receive four additional planes in the coming year.
[updated Friday, March 1]