Ministry to probe Batik Air pilots who fell asleep mid-flight

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Ministry to probe Batik Air pilots who fell asleep mid-flight

Illustration -- A Batik Air aircraft taking off at an airport. ANTARA/HO-Humas Kemenhub.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Transportation Ministry's Directorate General of Air Transport stated that it will investigate an incident in which both a pilot and co-pilot of a commercial flight fell asleep mid-flight last January.

The incident occurred on Batik Air ID 6723 (BTK6723) en route Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi to Jakarta, which took two hours and 35 minutes, on January 25, 2024.

"We will conduct an investigation and review of the night flight operation in Indonesia regarding the Fatigue Risk Management for Batik Air and other flight operators," Director General M. Kristi Endah Murni noted as per the statement here on Saturday.

The directorate general also issued a strong rebuke to Batik Air. Murni emphasized that airlines should be attentive to the rest time and quality of their pilots and other flight crew members that could affect the level of alertness while operating aircraft.

Flight crews of BTK6723 have also been grounded according to the standard operational procedure, pending further investigation, she noted.

The director general said that the agency will dispatch their flight inspector authorized on Resolution of Safety Issue (RSI) to investigate the root cause of the incident and recommend mitigation measures to flight operators and supervisors.

The agency also commended the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) for thoroughly investigating the BTK6723 incident.

"Any penalty will be imposed according to the investigation report conducted by the investigator team," she remarked.

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Earlier, the KNKT released its preliminary report on the BTK6723 incident and found a "serious incident" when both the pilot and co-pilot fell asleep simultaneously for 28 minutes mid-flight, causing navigational errors as the aircraft flew off-course on its approach to Java Island.

Despite the gravity of the incident, no passengers were injured, and the aircraft landed safely with no damage. The aircraft involved in the incident was an Airbus A320 bearing registration number PK-LUV.