JAKARTA-- The Air Transportation Directorate General and the Embassy of United States of America to Indonesia will cooperate to improve the flight safety in the latter country's eastern region, mainly in Papua province.

Since the province is mostly covered by mountainous regions, the weather in the area sometimes becomes hard to predict, the Transportation Ministrys Air Transportation Directorate General, Agus Santoso, said in his speech during a discussion in Denpasar, Bali.

Therefore, the safety issue during flight remains the top concern of the authority, Santoso remarked during the talk on "Aviation Development and Safety in Eastern Indonesia."

"The Indonesian government has to ensure the safety and security of flights in the countrys eastern region by strengthening infrastructures in the air navigation sector," he remarked.

Apart from the high-technology infrastructure, Santoso added that the pilot's competency has also become the authority's top concern over safety issue.

Since the province is situated in the steep region, the pilots should notice not only the aircrafts instrument but also the visual condition at the airbase, both during take-off and landing.

The pilots, moreover, need to learn not only the technical information but also the knowledge on flight safety.

"Hence, we would like to cooperate with the US government, because they have a problem similar to ours in Alaska," he stated.

"(We hope) the cooperation would increase the connectivity and accessibility in the province. Therefore, in the future, the distribution cost to and from the region could be decreased," Santoso noted.

The US Ambassador, Joseph R Donovan, remarked that the cooperation was part of the strategic partnership between the two countries, mainly in terms of developing the navigation infrastructure in Indonesia's eastern region.

"We take the issue on flight safety and security in Indonesia very seriously," Donovan remarked.

The ambassador further explained that the US government has delivered US$1 million aid to the Indonesian Transportation Ministry. The grant would be allocated for researches on the flight safety in Maluku and Papua provinces, which are already being conducted partly by the US-based aircraft manufacturer, Boeing.

Apart from Boeing, at least about 40 companies are involved in the two countries cooperation.

"These companies have been qualified to resolve all the flight issues in Papua (province)," Donovan noted, while adding that the US government will also support the air navigation technical infrastructure in the selected provinces in Indonesia.


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