AirAsia flight QZ8501: Indonesia proposes changes to aviation rules after crash

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's transport minister proposed a number of changes to improve aviation safety standards at parliamentary hearing on Tuesday, just over three weeks after an AirAsia passenger jet crashed killing all 162 people on board.

Ignasius Jonan told the hearing a number of new rules regarding permits and safety, including health checks for flight crews and air traffic controllers, have been implemented since the crash. "It is a habit among airlines that they sometimes sell tickets before they have obtained a route permit," Jonan said."Now route permits must be obtained 4 months before the flight and airlines will not be allowed to sell tickets before that." The transport ministry has suspended AirAsia's Surabaya-Singapore licence for flying on a Sunday, for which it did not have permission. However, the ministry has said this had no bearing on the crash.

Jonan added applications for route permits and air transport licences would be moved online next month. The ministry had also recommended that wages for operations personnel like maintenance and safety inspection officials be raised, he said.

President Joko Widodo has called for an urgent overhaul of the Indonesian aviation sector, which is among the fastest-growing in the region but has seen airlines with patchy safety records mushroom to cater to demand from a growing middle class.

Analysts say infrastructure has failed to keep up with the boom in air travel in Southeast Asia's biggest economy, leading to overcrowded airports.

Investigators have yet to determine why the Airbus A320-200 crashed into the Java Sea about 40 minutes into its flight.

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