Tempo Interaktif reports that the European Union Commission has sidestepped a potentially embarrassing impasse by issuing an edict granting special flight clearances to any Garuda Indonesia flight carrying Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his next official visit to Europe.
Indonesia aircraft have been banned from over flying European flight space since July 2007, "blacklisting" all Indonesian carriers for their failure to enforce adequate safety measures.
The "blacklisting," which more or less made it problematic, if not impossible, for a visit to Europe by the Indonesian Head of State, is now lifted following a meeting in Jakarta on May 5th between a delegation of EU officials and Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, Jusman Syafii Djamal, to discuss the continuing ban on Indonesian flights. Members of the EU delegation calling on the Minister included the EU Ambassador to Indonesian Pierre Phillippe; the Head of the Economic and Trade Section of the EU Commission Andreas Julin; and an aviation consultant assigned to evaluate Indonesia's aviation scene Jean Pierre Ambrosini.
Speaking to the press, Jusman said: "They (the Europeans) said they will receive the President arriving on a Presidential jet as an honored guest to whom every official courtesy will be extended."
The pronouncement by the EU representatives clears the way for a planned official visit by President Yudhoyono to Europe scheduled for June 2008.
In addition to complicating official State visits to Europe, the EU ban has also put something of a damper on the ability of Indonesian airlines to purchase Airbus aircrafts due to the complications of taking delivery of an Indonesian registered plane in Europe that is technically forbidden to fly over European airspace during on its delivery flight to Indonesia.
The "blacklisting" of Indonesian aviation by the EU is scheduled for review in Europe in July 2008 when Ambrosini will file a formal report of his findings the numerous improvements that have been introduced in Indonesian air safety.
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