Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Riau Governor's plane lost in space

A plane carrying Riau Islands Governor Ismeth Abdullah and 13 key officials was recently forced to hover above Sumatra for two hours due to the failure of a Global Positioning System (GPS), an official said Tuesday.

Hang Nadim Airport’s aviation safety unit head, Elfi Amirm, told The Jakarta Post the governor’s chartered flight was bound for Sei Bati Airport on Karimun Island from Tanjung Pinang on Sunday when the aircraft encountered the technical problem.

Elfi said the Sei Bati Airport noticed something was going wrong with the Cassa 212 plane operated by Sabang Merauke Air Charter, as it did not land an hour after takeoff at 8:10 a.m. It normally takes less than 15 minutes to reach Karimun from Tanjung Pinang by flight.

“I reported the problem to the Singapore aviation authorities to direct the plane,” Elfi said.

The governor finally touched down safely at Sei Bati Airport, thanks to the Singapore Air Traffic Control. There is no report about how the governor and the officials on board reacted to the aviation problem.

The absence of a radar in all airports across the province has forced the province to rely on the Singapore-controlled Flight Information Region (FIR) for decades, Elfi said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requires the nearest member country that possesses a more sophisticated navigation system to help another member country in need.

From Jakarta Post

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