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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   24 November 2010

Garuda workers claim mismanagement

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A group representing the Workers Union of national airline Garuda Indonesia apologized for the recent spate of flight cancellations, claiming they were not merely caused by a technical glitch in a new operational monitoring system, but the result of mismanagement.

"We apologize for the flight disturbance, but the public should know that they were caused by mismanagement and the minister of state-owned enterprises should open an investigation," the union's spokesperson said during an interview.

The group claiming to represent the union members was featured on a Tmorning program during a portion of the show usually reserved for citizens wanting to make public announcements.

According to the statement given by the union spokesperson on the show, the "mismanagement" had been an ongoing issue.

As many as 737 passengers from six flights had to spend Sunday night in hotels, at a cost to Garuda of Rp 240 million (US$27,000). In an official statement Garuda said the problems were the result of a crew rotation system malfunction.

Seventeen more flights were canceled between Monday and Tuesday.

"What happened [during the flight cancellations] is not as simple as a 'loose wire.' We have sent 1,133 letters to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono telling him about the mismanagement but we have not received any responses," he said.

The group further claimed that the flight disruptions were not caused by any union strikes.

"Not everyone will be pleased with all the decisions made when you are trying to transform a company, but all the decisions I make are for the company's benefit," he said.

Emirsyah promised the flight chaos would be resolved by Thursday.

"I can't promise that there won't be any delays, but if there are delays, I can say they are not caused by system troubles," he said.

Garuda has been canceling and delaying flights since Saturday. The airline said the problems were caused by the loss of crew rotation data during the switch-over to a new operations system.

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