More than 40 years control over Gold and Copper minings in the Province of Papua, has seemed to make PT. Freeport Indonesia felt that it has privileges in the Province.
This was shown when Freeport refused to provide fuel to the planes of Indonesia's flag carrier Garuda at Freeport's owned airport in Timika, Papua, because Garuda refused to bend its flight regulation.
The story began when Garuda flight GA 652 from Jakarta to Jayapura, via Denpasar and Timika could not land at Timika on Saturday, 2 January, due to very bad weather conditions, so instead the aircraft landed at the provincial capital Jayapura.
On Sunday morning, that plane first needed to complete its flight as GA 652 by flying to Timika before returning to Jayapura and then flying back to Timika as flight GA 653.
At that time, Freeport's President Director Armando Mahler and several top officials who were waiting for flight GA 653 requested that they be allowed to board flight GA 652 instead of wait for the plane to make a return flight to Timika without them.
The request was denied by Garuda' pilot because, as the officials were told by the pilot at the time, according to Garuda's regulation, diverted flights could not accept any additional passengers. If the pilot takes more passengers, he must make a new manifest, which will take a long time. The delay would cause other passengers in Jayapura to wait even longer, and would risk increasing pilot fatigue.
Very disappointed with the incident, Freeport sent a letter to Garuda saying that the Timika airport would not provide fuel for Garuda until further notice. Besides, Freeport wants a written apology from Garuda.
On Monday, 4 January, the Timika airport start providing fuel to Garuda again. But on the same day, Garuda sent a letter to Freeport and Timika airport operator, stating that there will not be any further flights to Timika.
Further, the Department of Transportation has summons officials of PT. Freeport Indonesia to explain about the incident.
For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.
Considering that Freeport and Garuda, need each other, I hope that they both can maintain better mutual understandings in the future.
But I also hope that Garuda would improve its services so that it can compete healthily with other airlines in Indonesia and around the world.
Photo : Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe.