Pre-2010, transportation safety in Indonesia was generally considered below par, so much so in fact that the US and the European Union banned inbound flights from Indonesia (a ban that has more recently been dropped).
A recent report by news agency Al Jazeera has highlighted the risk to human life that travelling via Indonesia transport can present: in 2018, 200 people died when an overcrowded ferry sank in Lake Toba; the World Health Organization ranks Indonesia fifth in the world in terms of the highest number of road traffic accidents; and the latest Indonesian plane crash is not the first – in 2018, a Lion Air passenger plane crash threw up issues with the standard of aircraft safety in the country.
Investigations have been launched into the latest Air Sriwijaya flight SJ182 tragedy, and while they have yet to be concluded, early intel suggests that the plane’s autothrottle may have been a major contributing factor to the crash – an issue that had been reported a few days before the crash, officials say.
“There was a report of malfunction on the autothrottle a couple of days before to the technician in the maintenance log, but we do not know what kind of problem,” National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) investigator Nurcayho Utomo told news agency Reuters. “If we find the CVR [cockpit voice recorder] we can hear the discussion between the pilots, what they talked about and we will know what is the problem.”
An International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) study pre-2010 detailed that the number of accidents per million departing flights had risen to 18.35 compared with a world average of 4.11 by 2009. And Al Jazeera’s report reasons that the quality of equipment used to deal with emergencies on Indonesian aircraft is often likely not the most up to date.
For now, it is still all speculation until the investigation is concluded, but for travellers heading to the Southeast Asian island destination, is there a heightened travel risk when travelling by road, air or ferry, and should this be reflected in travel insurance policies?