Indonesia’s Aviation Safety Has Improved, But A Lot Remains

Indonesia’s Aviation Safety Has Improved, But A Lot Remains

The Sriwijaya Airlines Flight 182 tragedy serves as a warning to aviation safety regulators worldwide. The Boeing 737-500 crashed into the ocean just four minutes after it took off from Jakarta on January 9th, in heavy rain. All 62 passengers and crew were killed. The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Naturally, the tragedy raised concerns about Indonesia’s safety standards in air travel. The nation has made great strides to improve their safety standards over the past decade. There is still much to be done. Regulators will need to be vigilant about aviation safety as commercial aviation recovers after its COVID stall.

Explosive Growth

The Indonesian commercial civil aviation sector has seen explosive growth over the past 20 years, with passengers rising from 10 million in 2000 up to 115 millions in 2018.

This is due to Indonesia’s geography and population. With more than 270million people living on five main islands and approximately 6,000 smaller ones, it is the fourth most populous country in the world, after China, India and the United States.

Air travel is the most convenient way to travel. It has become more affordable thanks to both competition (the government opened domestic airlines to competition in 1990s) as well rising incomes (with the GDP per capita increasing by a whopping 22% since 2000).

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Indonesia’s commercial passenger air market will be fourth in the world by 2039.

Safety At The Cost Of?

In Indonesia, the explosive growth of air travel was initially at the cost of safety. There were several serious incidents and major disasters in the 2000s.

These include Mandala Airlines Flight 91 which crashed into a neighborhood in Medan in September 2005, killing 149 people. Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 also crashed in Yogyakarta in March 2007, killing 20 passengers and one crew member.

The European Union responded by banning all Indonesian airlines from its airspace on July 2007. This ban was lifted partially in June 2018.

Safety Has Improved

The Aviation Safety Network data shows improvements in Indonesia’s aviation safety record. Between 2000 and 2009, Indonesia had 27 fatal aviation accidents. There were 18 fatal aviation incidents in Indonesia between 2000 and 2009. Significant progress has been made in implementing International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

According to the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program of the US Federal Aviation Administration, Indonesia is a Category 1 nation. This means that Indonesia’s aviation sector meets ICAO standards and permits Indonesian airlines to fly to the US.

However, there is still much to done in order to raise Indonesia’s aviation safety to the level of other OECD countries. For example, Japan has only had five fatalities in aviation since 2000.

The US is the largest aviation market in the world, and the most recent crash that resulted in similar deaths to Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 occurred in February 2009. Colgan Air Flight 3407 was a turboprop plane flying between Newark (New Jersey) and Buffalo (New York), shortly before arriving. It killed all 49 passengers on board as well as one person on the ground.

Global Safety In Aviation

The safety record of commercial passenger airline regulation is something that can be proudly proclaim worldwide. According to aviation experts, 2017 was the most secure year in commercial aviation history. There were only 79 deaths from incidents involving commercial flights in 2017, which is impressive considering that airlines carried almost 4 billion passengers. All metrics show that flying in the 21st Century is safer than the 20th century.

However, regional disparities persist. An IATA analysis found that Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia and eight other ex-Soviet countries, have significantly worse safety records than other regions. The global average is roughly the same for the Asia Pacific region (which includes Indonesia).

Nobel Prize Winners Can Fix Aviation Emissions

Nobel Prize Winners Can Fix Aviation Emissions

The aviation industry is growing in greenhouse gas emissions. Other industries have lower emissions or better control. However, airline emissions continue to rise. What are the chances of laws regulating airlines carbon footprint? Are airlines legally obligate to use biofuels?

These questions a result of what known as the aviation emission problem. These questions have no answers and will not be answer soon.

The Emissions Problem

According to the IPCC, aviation’s contribution to total emission is between 2% to 8%. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, there will be significant additional emissions growth. We expect a 63-83% increase in 2020 compared to a 2006 baseline and a 290-6677% increase by 2050. This does not include biofuels.

Manchester Metropolitan University published research last month that found that total aviation emissions were 630 megatonnes of CO2 in 2006. Depending on growth and mitigation efforts, the 2050 total emissions will be between 1,000 and 3,100 megatonnes.

Research published in Nature Climate Change last week shows that climate change can also affect aviation. Clear-air turbulence caused by atmospheric jet streams and human-induced climate changes could make trans-Atlantic flights bumpy.

Ground Controls To Reduce Aviation’s Carbon Footprint

According to the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries such as Australia shall pursue limitation of greenhouse gas emissions from aviation through the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is the UN agency that oversees international aviation. In other words, the ICAO is responsible for aviation emissions, not Kyoto. They are therefore exclude from the primary global climate change legal instrument.

The European Union (EU), recognizing that aviation has not been include in Kyoto and the failure of the ICAO to address the problem of aviation emissions, has taken steps.

Directive 2008/101/EC, the EU emissions trading scheme requires that all flights within the EU surrender emission allowances equal to the total amount of emissions from the flight. This applies to any flight landing at or taking off from any EU airport. The airlines received most of the emission allowances (85%), free of charge.

The strategy was set to go into effect on January 1, 2012. International airlines led by the US and China opposed inclusion of aviation into the EU emissions trading system. They tried to challenge its legality at the European Court of Justice, but were unsuccessful.

Mostly due to the strong opposition, the EU announced last November that it would stop international aviation from being included in the trading system until late in the year.

House Of Representatives Approved Legislation Emissions

The US House of Representatives approved legislation that President Obama signed one day after the EU announced its intention to prohibit any US-based aircraft operator from ever taking part in the EU’s trading program.

The EU stated that it would seek out ICAO for help in addressing the problem. The General Assembly of ICAO will be held in September-October, which is a few months from now. Since 1997, they have been trying to solve the problem of aviation emissions.

A group of top economists, including eight Nobel Prize winner, wrote to President Obama last month urging him support a price for aviation. These were their words:

The aviation sector can be charged carbon to encourage investment and change that will reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. It is possible to slow climate change at a reasonable cost by using the market. The ICAO Assembly can price carbon in the aviation sector.

If ICAO fails adequately to address the emission problem which it most likely will fail to do given its complete failure to address international aviation’s emissions problem to date then the EU trading system legislation would again apply to international aviation. However, both the US and China have banned their airlines from joining. The idea of regulating the international carbon footprint for airlines is not feasible, at least not in the near future.

The EU, Aviation And Climate Change

The EU, Aviation And Climate Change

The emissions problem in aviation has been a problem for some time. Last week, the European Union (EU), announced that it would not allow international aviation to be included in its emissions trading scheme (ETS) until late next year. Since the beginning of 2018, aviation has been included in this report. Non-European airlines fly to and from Europe under the EU scheme.

According to the EU, it will seek help from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN agency responsible for international aviation. The General Assembly of the ICAO will held in September-October 2013. The Kyoto Protocol was adopt in 1997 and ICAO has not yet found a solution to the problem of aviation emissions.

If the ICAO fails to address the emission problem (however successful is define, at its General Assembly the EU ETS legislation will apply again to international aviation starting in 2013.

The US House of Representatives pass legislation that, just a day after the EU’s announcement made, prohibits any US-base aircraft operator from ever taking part in the EU ETS.

In April, the Chinese government barred Chinese airlines from joining EU ETS. These are exciting times for international aviation, climate change regulation, as well as challenging times for ICAO.

Problem With Aviation Emissions

The aviation emissions problem has become a serious concern. The growing emissions from aviation are unregulated. The background of declining emissions or, at the very least, emission regulation from many other industries is causing aviation’s emissions to increase.

According to IPCC calculations, the contribution of aviation to total emissions could be as low or high as 2%. ICAO predicts further growth in emissions: compared to a 2006 baseline, a 63% to 88% increase by 2020 and a 290% to 667% increase by 2050 (without taking into account the impact of alternative fuels).

International Civil Organisation

The EU’s announcement defuse tensions with the US (despite this week’s passage legislation) and with major emerging states like China and India. They oppose to the EU legislation, and would not have agree to it

Three factors are the basis of the EU’s announcement:

  • The ICAO Council has established a high-level policy group to address the issue of emissions.
  • Three to one must be the limit of market-based mechanisms.
  • The Council explicitly mentioned a global market-based mechanism for addressing the problem of aviation emissions.

These are not the things that would make a global aviations emissions deal. Moreover, the ICAO’s failure to address international aviation emissions problems to date is not a good sign for any future solutions.

Rules For Aviation And Trade

This is in some ways a bit curious. The main piece of legislation, Directive 08/101/EC regarding the inclusion of aviation into the EU’s ETS requires that all flights (EU or non-EU) landing at, or taking off from, any airport in an EU member state must submit emissions allowances equaling the total amount of the flight.

The majority of these allowances, 85%, are free to airlines. Passengers will pay the remaining compliance costs. Many will not have other options to travel to the EU than to fly.

Two US authors noted that the issue at the core of the EU decision. Last Wednesday is a matter of some importance. It concerns whether nations may adopt climate-change laws that impact foreign companies offering goods and services on their territory.

Or, in other words, can aviation and trade rules seriously undermine. Efforts for prevention of the catastrophic consequences of unmanageable global warming?

The Climate Change Problem And Aviation

Microcosm of the difficulties in addressing global climate change is the difficulty in addressing aviations emissions. These kinds of problems are not address by the world. While climate change is a global issue, there is no global government. Instead, there are sovereign countries whose interests and concerns are very different. As is the case with the aviations emissions issue.