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Worrying litany of accidents

Wednesday 19 August 2015 | Published in Regional


JAKARTA – The Trigana Air disaster is just the latest in a list of air accidents in Indonesia, which has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered major disasters in recent months, including the crash of an AirAsia plane in December with the loss of 162 lives.

Last week a Cessna propeller plane crashed in Papua’s Yahukimo district, killing one person and seriously injuring the five others on board. Officials suspect that crash was also caused by bad weather.

In June, an Indonesian military plane crashed into a residential neighbourhood in the city of Medan, exploding in a fireball and killing 142 people.

The aviation sector in Indonesia is expanding fast but airlines are struggling to find enough well-trained personnel to keep up with the rapid growth in the archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.

Trigana Air, a small domestic Indonesian airline, has experienced a string of serious incidents and is banned from flying in European Union airspace.

Established in 1990, PT Trigana Air Service offers air transportation services from passenger transportation, medical evacuation, air photography to tourism services.

Trigana currently operates 16 aircraft, including three cargo planes. The airline serves at least 21 routes, mostly in remote regions of Indonesia.

Its corporate clients include oil exploration company Maxus Oil along with oil and gas firm Conoco Phillips.

The company’s shares are 50 per cent owned by Captain Rubijanto Adisarwono, who is also the company’s president director and the other 50 per cent is owned by Triputra Yusni Prawiro, who is the company’s commissioner.

Past accidents:

January 11, 2015 – A Trigana airplane skidded off the runway in Enarotali airport in Papua. No casualties reported.

May 20, 2013 – Trigana Air’s Boeing 737-300 PK-YRZ cargo plane lost its traction and skidded while landing at Wamena airport runway. There were no casualties.

February 11, 2010 – A Trigana plane serving the Balikpapan-Samarinda-Berau route in Kalimantan landed on a paddy field, in Kutai, East Kalimantan due to engine failures on one of its wings. Fifty one passengers survived, only one female passenger broke her foot during the incident.

July 8, 2008 – A Twin Otter light plane, operated by Trigana Air, crashed on landing at Dekai airport in Papua regency of Yahukimo on Tuesday afternoon. No casualties were reported.

November 17, 2006 – A Trigana airplane crashed on the way to Puncak Jaya in Papua. Nine passengers and 3 crew died.

April 23, 2002 – A chartered cargo aircraft leased by Trigana crashed when one of its front tires suddenly exploded. No fatalities reported.

ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica.

There are several variations of the ATR 42, such as the ATR 42-200 and the ATR 42-300 – the airliner that crashed on Sunday.

An ATR 42-300 crashed in 2008, at the time marking the deadliest accident for the aircraft until now.

It crashed on a domestic Venezuelan flight from Merida to Caracas when it flew into the side of a mountain, killing 43 passengers and three members of the crew, according to the ASN database.