PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia — Indonesia's transportation ministry revealed stringent measures Monday against everyone who allowed AirAsia Flight 8501 to take off without proper permits — including the suspension of the airport's operator and officials in the control tower. The licenses and schedules of all airlines flying in the country also will be examined to see if they are violating the rules, said Djoko Murjatmodjo, acting director general of air transportation.
The crackdown comes as searchers continue combing the Java Sea for bodies and wreckage of the Airbus A320 that crashed Dec. 28, killing all 162 passengers and crew on board. The plane was traveling between Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, and Singapore on a Sunday. Officials have since said its permit for the popular route was only for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and that AirAsia quietly switched three of those days. Officials in Singapore, however, have said the plane was authorized to fly on Sundays from its end.
While the airline is being investigated, Indonesia announced it banned all AirAsia flights between Surabaya and Singapore. Murjatmodjo said the ministry also issued a directive Dec. 31 ordering all airlines to provide pilots with up-to-date weather reports before they take off. Currently, it's up to the captain and co-pilot to research and evaluate flying conditions before departing. In other countries, the carrier's flight operations department performs that task for them.
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