Gita Amperiawan has been appointed as the new president director of state-owned aircraft manufacturer Indonesian Aerospace (IAe) effective immediately.

IAe says in a statement the ministry of state-owned enterprises (BUMN) announced, as part of the company’s general meeting of shareholders, to replace with immediate effect Elfien Goentoro – who has been IAe president director since 2017 – with Gita Amperiawan.

Gita Amperiawan was previously IAe director of commerce, technology and development, the statement says.

According to IAe’s website, Gita Amperiawan has a PhD in philosophy from the UK’s Cranfield University and a bachelor’s degree from the Bandung Institute of Technology.

He was formerly the head of defense technology, a sub-directorate of the ministry of defense, and also served as an Indonesian Air Force Commander of the maintenance unit.

Feature picture, from Jakarta Post and Arya Dipa, shows the N219 test airctaft taking off from Bandung airport.

Editor’s comments: Indonesian media has reported that the minister for state-owned enterprises Erick Thohir was behind the decision to replace Elfien Goentoro.

The minister’s remit is to turnaround Indonesia’s loss-making state-owned businesses, which continue to play a large part in Indonesia’s economy.

IAe reported a profit of US$10.6 million in 2019, following a loss in 2018. But it is understood that IAe, like many Indonesian state-owned enterprises, has been in the red since 2020, ever since the pandemic took hold.

IAe, like many state-owned enterprises, has been propped up by the government. The ministry of finance disclosed in December that for the period 2005-21 it has injected 695.6 trillion rupiah (US$48 billion) into the country’s state-owned enterprises and public service agencies, of which IAe received 3.99 trillion rupiah (US$280 million).  

IAe has faced some recent set-backs. It successfully developed and certified the N219, a new 19-seat turboprop aircraft. The aircraft gained Indonesian certification at the end of 2020.

The certification itself was an achievement as the N219 marks the first time that Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has certified an aircraft from scratch. Prior to the N219, the DGCA had only validated certifications that had already been issued overseas, such as European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification.  

It is understood that the DGCA put in a lot of time and resources – including establishing an aircraft certification office in Bandung, where IAe is based – to successfully carry out a thorough certification of the N219 in line with international standards.

Once certified it is only logical that the N219 would then go into commercial production. But that has not been the case. IAe has said publicly it needs more state money to get the production line up and running.