Authorities Evict Indonesia’s Susi Air From Hangar In North Kalimantan
Local authorities have evicted charter and scheduled operator Susi Air from its hangar in North Kalimantan, with municipal police pushing aircraft and equipment manually out of the hangar, claiming the airline failed to comply with notices to vacate.
The airline’s owner Susi Pudjiastuti, who is also Indonesia’s former minister of maritime affairs and fisheries, has gone on Twitter to share the news about the airline’s eviction from Robert Atty Bessing Airport in North Kalimantan province’s Malinau regency.
She claims the forceful eviction by the municipal police came as a surprise, because the airline has rented the hangar for more than ten years and provides community air services in North Kalimantan.
Pudjiastuti uploaded a 30 second video, which has since garnered more than a million views, showing more than a dozen officers pushing and dragging equipment out of the hangar, with an aircraft in the background.
Ernes Silvanus, the regional secretary of Malinau regency, told news outlet Tempo.co that Susi Air’s lease contract for the hangar had ended and that the local government had sent a notification letter in early December and also responded to the airline’s request for extension.
He says subsequent letters to the airline were ignored until Susi Air’s management came to the office of transportation on 13 January asking for a three-month extension. He says he responded by telling them there were already other tenants ready for the hangar.
When Susi Air failed to vacate, the authorities took action, the report adds.
Silvanus confirms the personnel who removed the aircraft and equipment from the hangar are municipal police.
He says Susi Air management were there and the airline’s engineer directed the police during the eviction, though there is still one aircraft which cannot be removed as it is waiting for spare parts.
Donal Fariz, Susi Air’s attorney, told Tempo.co that airline applied on 15 November for the lease to be extended, but the local government refused without any reason and asked the airline to vacate on 6 January.
Fariz says the airline wrote back same day asking for reasons behind the decision and on 17 January asked for a three-month extension so it could complete the maintenance on its aircraft and avoid disruption to flight operations.
In another report by CNN Indonesia, Fariz says airline plans to take legal action. He says the municipal police had no authority to evict as Susi Air did not disturb the public.
Fariz also says the municipal police failed to show any permit or approval from the airport to carry out the eviction, something that is required under the law.
Susi Air corporate secretary, Nadine Kaiser, has told local media the airline is assessing the damages and losses, but their biggest concern is the disruption caused to air services.
Local media outlet Suara.com reports that another Indonesian operator, Smart Aviation, be taking over the hangar. This is an unscheduled airline that operates Cessna Caravans, Pilatus PC-6 Porter aircraft and one helicopter.
Video from Susi Pudjiastuti’s twitter shows the eviction at Robert Atty Bessing Airport.
Featured Photo from wikidata.org shows Robert Atty Bessing Airport.