Boeing will help Indonesia with training, flight optimization and air traffic management to clear obstacles to growth in the increasingly important Southeast Asian market.

Indonesia’s airline industry will continue to grow “but it may not be able to grow as quickly as it would like to, if it doesn’t address the issue” of training pilots, maintenance technicians and air traffic controllers, says Boeing Flight Services’ VP for air traffic management, Neil Planzer, who was speaking at this week’s Indonesia Aviation Training & Education Conference in Jakarta.

Training is important to Boeing because local carriers, such as Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia, are big Boeing customers. In December, Lion signed an order for 230 Boeing 737s. At the moment Lion is taking delivery of one 737-900ER each month, but next year that delivery rate will double.

Meanwhile, national carrier Garuda Indonesia and its subsidiary Citilink plan to increase their combined fleet to 194 aircraft in 2015 from the current total of 97. Most of the aircraft Garuda has ordered are from Boeing.

To ensure Indonesian carriers continue to take delivery of aircraft as scheduled, Indonesia’s aviation industry needs to have sufficient numbers of pilots, maintenance technicians and air traffic controllers. If there is insufficient numbers of trained and qualified personnel, industry officials are concerned this could prompt airlines to delay aircraft deliveries.

In an effort to help Indonesia’s aviation industry meet this challenge, Boeing Flight Services has signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry of transportation to work on training and improved procedures in the air.

At the Indonesia Aviation Training & Education Conference, Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released data showing Indonesia only has 13 flying school whereas the U.S. has 1,076.

Indonesia clearly needs more flying schools, so it is likely Boeing Flight Services will help Indonesia establish more, Boeing Flight Services VP Sherry Carbary told Aviation Week on the sidelines of the conference. Boeing Flight Services, and in particular its business unit Jeppesen, will assist flying schools in Indonesia with course materials and setting standards and procedures, she adds.

Carbary, however, stops short of saying that Boeing will be willing to be a shareholder in Indonesian flying schools. “We don’t know yet,” she says.

Boeing owns and manages flight simulator centers around the globe. In Asia-Pacific, it has simulator centers in China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Australia. “I wouldn’t say we will not establish a simulator centre in Indonesia. If customers want it, we will look at it,” notes Carbary. But she adds that the three biggest Boeing operators—Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Sriwijaya Air—all have their own flight simulator centers.

Instead of Boeing establishing its own stand-alone simulator centre in Indonesia, more simulators could be installed in existing centers in Indonesia and Boeing Flight Services could help manage some of these simulators, she adds.

Maintenance Needs

Boeing also plans to assist maintenance training organizations. “Everyone talks about pilots, but maintenance personnel are just as important. It takes four to five years to create a quality certified mechanic,” says Carbary, adding that Boeing will be helping with course materials and establishing standards and processes.

The U.S. company, however, will not invest capital in maintenance, repair and overhaul firms in Indonesia—as it has done in China and India—with Carbary noting that “it is likely we will provide guidance, support and training.”

Indonesia also is looking to Boeing to assist with the introduction of required navigation performance (RNP) procedures. Boeing Flight Services and Lion Air have completed RNP trials at Ambon and Manado airports and are now waiting for the DGCA to implement these procedures at the two airports, says Carbary. Boeing Flight Services also has embarked on RNP trials with Garuda Indonesia, and is offering to train air traffic controllers.

Air traffic control has come under increased scrutiny since the May crash of a Sukhoi SuperJet into a mountain outside Jakarta. A transcript from the cockpit voice recorder that was leaked to the local media and later verified by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee clearly shows that the air traffic controller granted the SuperJet pilot approval to descend to 6,000 ft. moments before the aircraft crashed into a 7,000 ft. mountain. The NTSC is the independent Indonesian organization tasked with investigating the accident.