Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan is furious with AirAsia Indonesia for allegedly not adhering to procedures, according to a media report.
According to Indonesia's detik.com , the minister expressed his anger after visiting the airline's headquarters near Jakarta to observe its pre-flight procedures.
Quoting the minister’s aide, the news portal said Jonan warned that stern action would be taken against the breaches.
"Jonan is angry at AirAsia. Furious… Prior to departure, the pilot is supposed to get a briefing directly from the flight operations officer (FOO), especially on the weather.
"However all this while, AirAsia simply relied on the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics' (BMKG) website," said his aide Hadi M Djuraid ( left ).
Weather conditions is being cited as one of the possible reasons that led to AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashing into the sea off Kalimantan on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Indonesian portal Tempo reported what supposedly transpired during the minister's surprise visit, saying that an unnamed AirAsia Indonesia director had defended its reliance on BMKG’s website.
"This is how it is done internationally. To physically take weather information from BMKG is the 'traditional' way," the director reportedly said to Jonan.
Jonan then rebutted by asking why AirAsia is still taking hard copies of BMKG’s weather reports, even after QZ8501 had gone missing, but the reply came, “Yes, because that’s tradition.”
This reportedly infuriated Jonan, who said, “When there are rules, you should follow it. Don’t fight, or I’ll strip you of your licence.”
The director reportedly promised to comply with the regulations.
Briefings by flight operations officers
According to Tempo , Jonan then spoke to a senior AirAsia pilot on the issue, and he was told that the pilot prefers pre-flight briefings by an FOO over reading the weather reports themselves.
“If there aren’t enough FOOs, you (AirAsia) should increase it. Safety is expensive, but accidents like the recent one is even more expensive. Human lives are priceless,” he added.
Malaysiakini is currently awaiting a response from AirAsia regarding the allegation.
The Surabaya-Singapore flight was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members, all of whom are feared dead.
The plane, an Airbus A320-200, disappeared midway into the flight of more than two hours. No distress call was made.
Soon after the plane went missing, it was reported that the pilot had requested a "deviation" from the flight path to avoid thick storm clouds.
Indonesia's Transport Ministry has said the pilot had asked permission to climb to 38,000ft (11,000m).
Ministry official Djoko Murjatmodjo said the request "could not be approved at that time due to traffic - there was a flight above - and five minutes later, (flight QZ8501) disappeared from radar".