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Indonesia to Investigate Batik Air After Pilots Allegedly Fall Asleep Mid-Flight

Indonesia to Investigate Batik Air After Pilots Allegedly Fall Asleep Mid-Flight

In a concerning incident, Indonesia’s transport ministry has announced plans to investigate local airline Batik Air after reports emerged that two of its pilots fell asleep during a recent flight. The incident, which occurred during a flight from South East Sulawesi to Jakarta on January 25, has raised serious safety concerns in the aviation industry.

According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), both the pilot and co-pilot were found to have been asleep simultaneously for approximately 28 minutes during the two-hour-and-35-minute flight. This lapse in alertness led to a series of navigation errors, although the 153 passengers and four flight attendants onboard the Airbus A320 were fortunately unharmed.

In response to the incident, the transport ministry has issued a strong reprimand to Batik Air, emphasizing the need for airlines to prioritize the rest time of their flight crew. M. Kristi Endah Murni, the air transport director-general, stated that an investigation and review of night flight operations in Indonesia, particularly regarding Fatigue Risk Management for Batik Air and other operators, will be conducted.

Batik Air has released a statement asserting its commitment to safety and compliance with all safety recommendations. The airline maintains that it operates with an adequate rest policy for its crew members. However, it has acknowledged the suspension of the pilots involved in the incident pending further investigation.

The KNKT report, made available in late February, revealed that one of the pilots had not received sufficient rest the night before the flight. Shortly after takeoff, the captain requested permission to rest, which was granted by the second-in-command. However, the co-pilot also fell asleep unintentionally while assuming control of the aircraft.

The report highlighted the challenging circumstances faced by the co-pilot, who had recently become a father to twins. Despite assisting with childcare responsibilities at home, the co-pilot’s fatigue compromised his ability to remain alert during the flight.

Approximately 28 minutes after the last recorded transmission by the co-pilot, the captain woke up to discover his colleague asleep and the aircraft off course. He promptly corrected the flight path and responded to communications from air traffic control, ensuring the safe landing of the plane.

While investigators did not disclose the identities of the pilots involved, they confirmed that both individuals were Indonesian nationals aged 32 and 28. The incident underscores the importance of stringent safety protocols and adequate rest periods for flight crew members, especially during extended flights.

The transport ministry’s decision to launch a thorough investigation reflects its commitment to upholding aviation safety standards and preventing similar incidents in the future. As the probe unfolds, stakeholders in the aviation industry will be closely monitoring developments to ensure accountability and adherence to safety regulations.

In conclusion, the incident involving Batik Air serves as a reminder of the critical role of pilot alertness and fatigue management in ensuring the safety of air travel. Airlines must prioritize crew well-being and implement robust measures to prevent fatigue-related incidents, safeguarding the lives of passengers and crew alike.

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