A Merpati airlines Flight MZ8968 plane plunged to the sea yesterday as it approached the Utarom Airport, Kaimana, West Papua. All of its 21 passengers and 6 crews were predicted died in the accident.
Kompas quoted the Director General of Air Transportation Herry Bhakti as saying that the made-in China MA-60 turboprop plane was scheduled to land at 1.55 pm. At that time the weather was bad, rain was falling heavily and cloudy, the plane was almost ready to land when suddenly communications broke off before the crash.
The fact that the plane was manufactured in 2010, therefore very young, has made people questioned the quality of the plane. Especially that former Vice President Jusuf Kalla has once rejected Merpati's plan to buy fifteen MA-60 because it was not certified by the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Aviation observer Dudi Soedibyo said that the CN-235 passenger plane produced by Indonesia is much better than the Chinese MA-60. This can be seen from the fact that our CN-235 has been used by US Coast Guard, South Korean Air Force, French Air Force and Merpati airlines.
In a hearing with the House of Representatives in June 2009, the President Director of Merpati Bambang Bhakti revealed that the airlines has once grounded an MA-60 plane because they found a Crack in the Rudder of the plane.
Meanwhile the Director General of Air Transportation said that the plane has been certified in China and Indonesia, therefore there should not be any problem flying it here.
Considering that Merpati has purchased fifteen MA-60 planes, four flying - waiting for eleven more, I hope that the Indonesian government and aviation authority would investigate this accident thoroughly, . I also hope that the House of Representatives would hold hearing with Merpati and relevant parties on the real reason why has Merpati purchased the Chinese MA-60 plane, instead of our own CN-235 plane which is much better and safer.