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Garuda Returns Temporarily to London

Indonesian President to Fly Garuda to London for G-20 Conference.

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When Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono flies to London on April 2, 2009, to attend the G-20 Summit, he'll do so on board an Indonesian registered aircraft operated by national carrier Garuda Indonesia. The President's airplane will be the first Indonesian registered aircraft to fly over and land in Europe since the imposition of a mid-2007 "blacklisting" of Indonesian aircraft by the European Union (EU) who have delcared the country's aviation industry, its planes and pilots as "unsafe."

President Yudhoyono's aircraft has been granted a special permit by the EU.

Indonesia has been unsuccessful in its efforts to have the current EU aviation blacklist lifted, despite strong praise earned by the Indonesian air carriers who have adopted IATA air safety standards and the passage of a new aviation law. EU aviation auditors have saluted efforts by Indonesian airlines while expressing strong reservations regarding the government's ability to administer a safe and secure administrative system.

The recent replacement of the Director General of Civil Aviation [See: Clearing the Air] is seen in may quarters as the removal of a major obstacle to the eventual lifting of the EU Blacklisting.

Indonesian commercial aviation has operated for more than 2 years without recording a single fatality.

The President is reportedly torn between attending the crucial economic summit of world leaders or staying closer to home to monitor a range of pressing domestic issues, including legislative elections on April 9. Some press reports suggest that Yudhoyono will make an abbreviated appearance at the G-20 Summit, thereby ensuring that Indonesia's viewpoint is heard on a number of issues likely to shape the world economy for years to come.

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