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A Wounded Pigeon?

Director of Operations Publicly Resigns from State-Owned Airline Merpati Nusantara Airline, Underlining his Disaffection with Carrier’s Top Management

(2/16/2013) In a shocking move, the director of operations as the State-owned Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Asep Eka Nugraha, has tendered his resignation effective Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

As reported by Kompas.com, Nugraha listed four reasons for leaving his management post at Merpati:

  1. A declining amount of productive assets due to the income of Merpati, the limited ability of the company to meet its third-party obligations, and limited resources available to care for the Company’s remaining productive assets.
  2. A growing lack of trust and faith among the Airline’s employees towards management that has now spread to affect operational areas.
  3. Nugraha’s opinion that efforts, as the Director of Operations, to remedy the airline’s situation have been met with arrogance by senior management of the airline resulting in disarray among the management of the operational directorate of the Airline. He further contends that this problem has been allowed to develop without any consideration of the side effects that have occurred.
  4. That the condition of the Company continues to deteriorate not through any lack of hard work by its employees, but due to the lack of proper compensation for their good efforts falling short of worker's expectations. This has resulted in a generalized decline of concern regarding the Company’s performance.
Prior to becoming the director of operations at Merpati, Captain Asep served as managing director of the strategic business unit at the Merpati Training Center (MTC) and a member of the committee entrusted with Performance Management Systems (PMS) at Merpati Nusantara Airlines.

Minister of Transportation Responds

In separate coverage from Bisnis.com, the Minister of Transportation said that Merpati Nusantara Airlines must urgently report on issues relating to the new director's fitness and appropriateness for the subject position (fit and proper test).

The Minister for State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Dahlan Iskan, has approved the appointment of Captain Antony Ajawaila as Merpati’s new director of operations, replacing Captain Asep Eka Nguraha who has resigned.

The appointment was included in the minutes of a shareholder’s meeting signed by Dahlan. Antony’s job remains an interim appointment pending his successful fulfillment satisfaction of a “fit and proper” review.

Antony Ajawaila’s last posting at the Airline was as vice president of operations. He has 30 year of service with the Merpati.

Meanwhile, the head of the Public Communications office at the Ministry of Transportation, Bambang S. Ervan, said the fit and proper test must be carried out because the director of operations is a key position in any airline.

Ervan said, “Merpati must report to the Minister of Transportation within 2 weeks of this appointment ” He went on to explain that the report to the Minister by the management of Merpati must include all changes in operating specifications and a complete and current list of the names comprising the company’s top management.

“The Ministry of Transportation actually does not want to involve itself in the choice of directors for the Airline, but because the position represents a key person in the airline a fit and proper test must be conducted. This must be done in order that safety standards are maintained.”

Ervan said that when seen from the track record of the person proposed for the director of operations position, there is little concern that he will be able to head operations at the Airline. Nonetheless, a fit and proper review must be undertaken, even if the appointment to the job is temporary in nature.