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Garuda Indonesia to resume flights to U.S. after FAA revokes ban

Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda Indonesia has indicated that it would be resuming its flights services to the United States in 2017. The airline’s decision comes after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) removed ban allowing Indonesian carriers to again start serving U.S. destinations.

Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry was recently notified by the FAA that the aviation safety status of this key Southeast Asian country has been upgraded to Category 1 from Category 2. Suprasetyo, Indonesia’s Director General for Air Transport, also confirmed the news saying that Indonesia has fulfilled the international aviation safety standards as required by the United States.

The FAA undertook an assessment, which concluded in March this year, and finally granted Category 1 status after its satisfactory completion. Apart from the Indonesian carriers, the assessment also covered local regulations as well as local aviation authority. It may be recalled that Indonesia’s status by downgraded by the FAA to Category 2 in 2007, which led to Indonesian carriers being banned from operating flights to the United States. The status downgrade took place after several air crashes involving Indonesian carriers, including Garuda Indonesia.

Media reports said that Garuda Indonesia, which was earlier conducting flights to Los Angeles in the 1990s, has revealed its plans to resume flights to the United States. The airline is likely to launch its flights to Los Angles, or probably New York. The service to either of the two U.S. cities would begin operations during the first half on 2017. The airline will be deploying a Boeing 777 aircraft to serve U.S.

The announcement by FAA has come only after two months when the European Union also removed three Indonesian carriers – Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air – from its air-safety blacklist. The European Union had earlier removed Garuda Indonesia from its air-safety blacklist in 2009 itself, after a two-year ban.

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