Yesterday (Friday), another plane accident happened in Soekarno-Hatta airport. Batavia Airlines, Boeing 737-200, in its route from Jakarta to Makassar. After 15 minutes of flying, the plane returned to base, because of something wrong in hydraulic system, the pilot said. The airplane was succesfully landed, but the right back wheel was exploded, and the plane slipped, causing hurt in 3 passengers. How could it happen? Didn’t they check first?
Another accident happened in Syamsuddin Noor airport in Banjarmasin on the same day. Lion Air, the cheap-fare airline, with its MD-82 plane, had to do emergency landing, because of a trouble in wheel indicator when landing. What were those technicians do? Or did they know there was some kind of trouble, but they were told to ignore it, to reduce the repair cost? Isn’t that a violation of passenger safety?
The Boeing 737-200 in Batavia accident was over 15 years old. Regulation in Indonesia required that newly registered passenger plane to operate in Indonesian sky were 20 years old at most, while for already registered passenger plane were 30 years old at most. Boeing 737 is a short and medium-range narrow-body airliner, with 2 turbofan engines, first introduced in 1967. Now there are 737NG (New Generation), which includes 737-600, 737-700, 737-800, and 737-900. B737-200 is way way way back in the past. Boeing 737-200 has poorer fuel efficiency, high noise emissions, and escalating maintenance costs. While MD-82 is a twin engine, narrow-body fuel-economic out-of-production airplane. MD-82 was not used any more in US, because of its tendency to had accident (referring to its lean anatomy).
There have been a decline in airlines income these days, because of the high fuel cost. Airlines keep trying to maintain the income not by raising the ticket price, but by reducing cost in every aspects. Lion Air and Citylink (the cheap-version of Garuda) reducing cost by not giving any taste-bud comfort. Not even candies to help shooing away that ear pain you get when the plane is taking off or landing (how expensive was 2-3 pack of candies?). Yepp, only water (and it’s not even Aqua) threw to your lap, by unsmiling stewardess. I am sure there will be a day coming when people bringing foodbox in a flight.
And the service, oh God. Lion Air, especially. The stewardess was so rude, and the customer service in the check-in desk was actually scolding me for being late (it was the only one time I was late for a flight). If the service given to a human being is this bad, you can imagine what they do to the inanimate objects, like the plane machines, for instance.
And the seats! I don’t remember which airline was that. There was no backseat pocket, and that means no obligatory puke-paperbag, no emergency booklet. Once, I read in our local news that some of the seats had no seatbelts!!! What the…! I even start to think that in the case of emergency, maybe there will be no oxygen mask fall over you head, because they stucked. There will be no lifejacket under your seats, and maybe even the door and the windows of exit would be stuck because of ruts.
Other international airlines have other ideas for reducing cost.
Just a few days ago, I read in one of my news feed about Airbus (Europe), the rival of Boeing (America).
- Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none has agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal.
Airlines also started to change the seat material into lighter materials and slimmer seatbacks, making more room for additional one or two row of seats. Boeing did that. Those slimmer seatbacks were meant to give more room for legs (you know how cramped it is in the planes nowadays?), but they exploited it for their own favor. Getting more passengers in a plane, getting more money, while still using the same operational cost and fuel cost.