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Taming a Tardy Lion

Ministry of Transportation Summons Lion Air to Explain Delays and Poor Communication with Passengers

(10/18/2013) The spokesman and public affairs officer for the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation, Bambang S. Ervan, told Bisnis.com that he would urgently summon the management of Lion Air to explain delayed flights, including the 3 hour delay of a flight on Thursday, October 17. 2013.

“We will wait to see what action will be taken by the Director General of Civil Aviation. The (latest) information is that on Monday (October 21, 2013) the management of Lion will be called to evaluate this case,” said Ervan on Friday, October 18, 2013.

Bambang said that an early report from Lion Air confirmed the delay of a flight in connection with the late replacement of a tire for the aircraft.
The management of Lion Air had reportedly compensated passengers affected by the delay in accordance with government guidelines. Ervan said that the government had previously given warnings to Lion Air to improve its level of service to the public.

Separately, Bambang said that while many airlines in Indonesia have experienced delays, Lion Air has been the center of several incidents of passenger unrest, compelling the government to evaluate the way in which the airline communicates with its passengers.

Many passengers have complained that they are left in waiting rooms and sometimes on parked airplanes with little or no information from the airline.

“This case can become part of Lion Airs introspection because late flight do not only happen at Lion, other airlines are also late, but the unrest seems to always affect Lion. There’s a communication problem, not only in communication but in the actual connection between the passengers and the management,” said Ervan.

The head of public relations of Lion Air, Edward Sirait, admitted at a press conference that the Airline had a problem with the importation of reconditioned tires that resulted in a delay with several flights on October 17, 2013.

He said these mistakes caused unnecessary delays in clearing the tires from the Port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta. “We were not aware of the rules,’ Said Sirait.

Edward Sirait explained that in order to use reconditioned tires the airline must present proof that they have permission from the relevant authorities. Because Lion Air had not processed the required permits, the tires were held up at Tanjung Priok.

He said that Lion Air uses a combination of reconditioned and new tires, but because the two are shipped together, the clearance process through customs becames problematic.

Edward said he wished to apologize on behalf of Lion Air to their passengers, insisting passengers in the very worst instance experienced delays of only 5-6 hours, and not more than 10 hours as reported in some media.

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