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January 5, 2015

Indonesia rebukes airport officials following AirAsia crash

Indonesia's Transportation Ministry has heavily criticised everyone who allowed AirAsia Flight 8501 to take off without proper permits.

Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry has heavily criticised everyone who allowed AirAsia Flight 8501 to take off without proper permits.

The country has suspended the airport’s operator and officials in the control tower. It also noted that airlines will be forced to comply with stricter pre-departure regulations with pilots required to undergo direct weather briefings with dispatchers.

The transportation ministry’s acting director-general of civil aviation Djoko Murjatmodjo said that the ministry has already issued a circular requiring airlines to directly brief their pilots on weather before departure and that an official rule will follow.

The circular was issued three days after the crash on 31 December 2014.

"If, after assessment, another airline is also not flying on the approved schedule, that is a violation and we will suspend it, too."

The AirAsia Flight 8501 aircraft was travelling between Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, and Singapore on a Sunday when it crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 162 on board.

Although it was scheduled to fly only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the ill-fated flight flew on a Sunday. Investigations are now underway to see who might have given permission for the plane’s takeoff.

The transport ministry also said it would hold airlines to greater accountability in the future. According to Channel News Asia, Murjatmodjo said: "If, after assessment, another airline is also not flying on the approved schedule, that is a violation and we will suspend it, too."

The permit for Surabaya-Singapore flights of AirAsia Indonesia, the domestic operator of the Malaysia-based AirAsia, has already been suspended.

The Indonesian transport ministry has launched a revision of air safety protocols following the crash.

According to the Wall Street Journal, now all pilots will be required to attend a briefing with flight operating officers (FOO) before takeoff as it was reported that the pilot on Flight 8501 took weather information reported by the meteorological agency BMKG, rather than through the airlines.

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