Candra Malik, April Aswadi & Putri Prameshwari
The country will sign an agreement with the European Union today to lift flight bans on four of the country’s airlines, an official said on Tuesday.
“A new regulation will make this official,” Retno Marsudi, the Foreign Ministry’s director general for American and European affairs, said during a two-day meeting this week with EU officials in Yogyakarta.
Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal confirmed the lifting of the ban on Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, PremiAir and Airfast.
He said that the government would work on a new bilateral agreement with the European Union covering air-safety regulations. “By lifting the ban, the EU has restored international trust in our aviation authorities,”Jusman said.
The European Union banned all 51 of the country’s airlines from flying through European airspace in July 2007, due to safety and surveillance concerns, and based on recommendations from the International Civil Aviation Organization.
EU and Indonesian officials this week also discussed a possible civil-aviation agreement to ensure closer coordination on safety issues in the future.
Retno said that officials at the Yogyakarta meeting also concluded a comprehensive bilateral deal covering a wide range of sectors. “This is the first of its kind in Asean,” she said.
James Moran, the European Union’s director for Asia, said that the bilateral agreement would facilitate a regular dialogue to reinforce cooperation in areas such as education, research, the environment, energy, tourism and transportation.
“It will also open up dialogue and cooperation on global issues such as border management, organized crime, communicable diseases and climate change,” he said.
Trade Minister Mari Pangestu also agreed to meet with her EU counterparts later this year to discuss trade and investment issues.
Jusman said Garuda had already started preparing for flights to Europe, with Amsterdam likely to be the first destination.
Garuda corporate secretary Pujobroto declined to comment on the airline’s plans, however.