Privately owned carrier Sky Aviation is waiting until Indonesian authorities issue their final report on the cause of May 9’s Sukhoi SuperJet crash before deciding if it will take delivery of the aircraft.
Fourteen of those who died in the crash were from the Indonesian carrier, says Chairman Yusuf Ardhi, who describes the accident as “one of the worst experiences in my life.” The aircraft maker conducted two demonstration flights that day. The earlier demonstration flight returned safely to Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport without incident. Ardhi says he was on that earlier flight.
The second demonstration flight later in the day crashed into Mount Salak, outside Jakarta, killing all 45 on board.
Sukhoi had brought the aircraft to Indonesia to perform demonstration flights for executives at Indonesian carriers as part of the Russian aircraft maker’s sales push. Sky Aviation is one of SuperJet’s potential customers.
“The SuperJet is still a good aircraft, but we are waiting for some clues from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) on the cause of the crash,” says Ardhi. The NTSC is the independent body charged with investigating the accident.
Ardhi, however, says Sky Aviation is unwilling to accept the SuperJet until it sees the final accident report. It is unclear, at this stage, when the NTSC will complete its investigation and issue the report.
The airline in August 2011 stated that it has signed a purchase agreement for 12 SuperJets.
Sky Aviation originally chose the SuperJet because of the aircraft’s 17- to 110-seat capacity and short runway performance, says Ardhi. The plan was to operate the SuperJet on secondary routes in Indonesia where there is no competition from low-cost carriers, he adds.
Sky Aviation is positioned as a full-service carrier that serves smaller cities and towns.
The airline currently operates five Fokker 50s and one Fokker 100. It owns these aircraft, says Ardhi, noting that the airline added the Fokker 100 recently after buying it from another Indonesian carrier. He declines to say from whom it bought the Fokker 100, but an industry executive familiar with the type in Indonesia says Sky Aviation purchased it from charter carrier Premiair.
Ardhi says the carrier’s Fokker 100 has 24 business-class and 13 VIP seats. He does not plan to add more of the type. Sky Aviation uses the Fokker 100 for charter flights, mostly for Indonesia’s oil and gas industry, says Ardhi, whose family has a company called Petroneks, which supplies drilling equipment to the local oil and gas industry. Sky Aviation’s Fokker 50s fly scheduled flights from four hubs in Indonesia: Batam, Denpasar (Bali) and Pekanbaru and Pangkal Pinang.