2 planes collide on Indonesian runway

JAKARTA • Two planes collided on a runway at a city airport in the Indonesian capital late yesterday, forcing passengers to evacuate using inflatable ramps.

No casualties were reported, according to a statement from the transportation ministry.

A Boeing 737-800 operated by Batik Air, the full-service arm of one of Asia's biggest airline operators Lion Air Group, was attempting to take off from Halim Perdanakusuma airport when its wing clipped the tail of a smaller plane being towed off the runway.

"All passengers and crew were safely evacuated," the transportation ministry said in a statement, adding that the airport, which services mainly domestic flights, would be closed until further notice.

TV images showed the wing of the Batik Air aircraft in flames, as fire trucks and ambulances gathered on the runway.

The Batik Air plane was en route from Jakarta to Makassar in South Sulawesi.

Indonesia has seen a boom in air travel and budget carriers have proliferated at among the fastest paces in the region. But airport infrastructure in Southeast Asia's biggest economy has struggled to keep pace.

Indonesia has experienced a series of major air crashes since late 2014, when an AirAsia plane carrying 162 passengers crashed into the Java Sea.

Investigators last year said that problems with the rudder system and the flight crew's subsequent response led AirAsia Flight 8501 to crash and kill all people on board.

In June last year, more than 120 people died when a military cargo plane rammed into some buildings about two minutes after take-off in the North Sumatran city of Medan.

Two months later, Trigana Air Flight 267 crashed in Papua, killing all 54 on board.

The remains of the aircraft were found two days later in the mountainous region.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2016, with the headline '2 planes collide on Indonesian runway'. Print Edition | Subscribe