Pilot lands plane at wrong airport

2012-10-15 12:16
Jakarta - A foreign pilot has been suspended from flying after landing an Indonesian passenger jet at the wrong airport in a "serious" breach of safety, a transport ministry spokesman said on Monday.

The Sriwijaya Air plane, carrying 96 passengers and six crew, was meant to land at Minangkabau International airport in the city of Padang, but instead descended to the Tabing air force base some 12 kilometres away.

"This incident was very serious and very dangerous for passenger safety as (the plane) landed at a wrong airport," ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said, adding that a probe by the aviation safety watchdog is underway.

The foreign pilot of the jet, which left Medan in North Sumatra province for the short flight to Padang on Saturday, has been suspended from duty, he added, without revealing the pilot's nationality.

"For the time being we won't allow him to fly and he is expected to give an explanation to the aviation safety department today," he said.

Air traffic officials at Minangkabau airport are also under investigation for their role in the blunder, he added.

Indonesia has a chequered aviation safety record, with several deadly crashes over recent years across the massive archipelago where air travel is essential to reach outlying areas.

Sapa-AFP

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