Report Does Not Identify Cause Of Accident
Investigators state a Garuda
airlines policy to preserve fuel may have compelled a pilot to
attempt a landing at an excessive speed last month, contributing to
the subsequent crash in Yogyakarta that killed 21 people.
The revelation has led to deep concerns over the airline's policy
of paying pilots a three percent bonus for fuel conservation, The
Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"This policy for fuel efficiency for individual pilots could
hamper flight safety," Captain Stephanus said. "The company is
making extra payments to pilots if they can conserve fuel. Maybe
this is bothering the pilot."
Captain Stephanus, the head Garuda's pilots association,
interviewed the pilot who crashed the plane, Captain Komar, soon
after the accident last month. He blames the accident on "some
human factor problem" stating that the pilot should have "gone
around" rather than landing.
Stephanus said the pilot's decision to land the plane at over
255 mph was a "surprise," adding "This is too fast. How could the
pilot decide like that?" he said.
As Aero-News reported, the
Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-400 slammed hard onto the runway in
Yogyakarta on March 7, careening off the end of the air strip
before bursting into flames, killing 21 of the 140 passengers.
"The jet was flying at about 410 kilometers (255 miles) per
hour. This was not a normal speed," chief investigator Mardjono
Siswo Suwarno confirmed after an official press conference
Mardjono added the safety area at the end of Yogyakarta's runway
was not long enough to accommodate the speeding jet. "If the area
was long enough, the Garuda jet would not have caught fire," he
A preliminary report released at Wednesday's press conference
states the safety run-off section at the end of Yogyakarta's runway
was not a length of 240 meters (787 feet) -- the minimum
recommended under international aviation standards. "It's
approximately 115 meters (377 feet) in length," Mardjono said.
Mardjono denied reports the accident was related to human error.
He also denied reports the pilots had been arguing about the
jet's speed moments before it crash-landed.
A final report from the investigation into the crash should be
available within four months.