MIAMI — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a Category 1 safety rating to Indonesia, thus clearing the path to Indonesian carriers to resume flights to the United States, as well as operate with U.S. carriers through codeshare flights.
The FAA decision is a major victory for Garuda Indonesia, the state-owned flag carrier, which has recently announced a renovation of its long-haul fleet with the acquisition of 14 Airbus A330-900neo. The carrier is looking to launch service to New York and Los Angeles as early as next year.
This category upgrade could also mean an eventual enhancement of the existing codeshare agreements between Garuda and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, both members of the SkyTeam alliance.
According to the FAA, Indonesia “either lacked laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority – a body equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters – were deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.”
A lack of qualified airline staff and air traffic controllers, as well as outdated equipment and aircraft have contributed to several accidents, the latest being AirAsia Flight 8501 crash in December 2014, and Trigana Air Service Flight 267 in August 2015.
Indonesia joins India and the Philippines, which also returned to Category 1 status in recent years. However, Thailand was downgraded last December.