Cargo Air Transportation: Transportation Minister urged to ratify regulation on drones

This article has been translated by PwC Indonesia as part of our Indonesia Infrastructure News Service. PwC Indonesia has not checked the accuracy of, and accepts no responsibility for the content.

Bisnis Indonesia : Angkutan Udara Kargo: Kemenhub Didesak Sahkan Beleid Drone

16 May 2019

By Rio Sandy Pradana

Bisnis, Jakarta — The Transportation Ministry is urged to immediately finish a regulation regarding the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles for domestic business purposes.

Director of Cargo and Business Development of PT Garuda Indonesia Tbk Mohammad Iqbal said that the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or often referred to as a drone had become an ideal option in the airline focus to optimise market share and air cargo income.

This particular type of aircraft is used mainly to connect remote areas with limited airport facilities such as Maluku, Papua, and Sulawesi.

“We hope for the government to immediately draft a regulation that can support UAV operation, as a response to the industry revolution 4.0 in the aviation sector,” he said to Bisnis, Wednesday (15/5).

He added that the completion of the said regulation would surely be helpful in supporting airlines in conducting trials both for the UAV units and for the supporting infrastructure facilities. According to him, the trial would involve airlines and drone manufacturers.

Iqbal said that the drone regulation also had to be discussed with and disseminated to domestic flight operators and all aviation stakeholders.

In his opinion, Garuda plans to operate up to 100 UAV units thanks to an exclusive collaboration with Beihang UAS Technology Co. Ltd to strengthen the air cargo business service market potential.

In the 4th quarter of 2019, the issuer coded GIAA will operate 3 UAV units of the BZK-005 type. The UAV is capable of lifting up to 1.2 tonnes of cargoes with a mileage of up to 1,200 kilometres at an altitude of 5,000 metres.

With the UAV technology, Iqbal assessed that the aircraft was more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and had lower risks.

On the other hand, by utilising the said UAV technology, investment for fleet development becomes more competitive compared to conventional fleets for air cargo.

Presently, airlines are also coordinating intensively with all stakeholders on the regulation study for the technology operation governance to be implemented properly. The trial run of the UAV technology in terms of the viability of the airport, airbase, navigation, air traffic control, meteorology, and relevant aspects will be held in September 2019.

Discussing Opportunity

Meanwhile, Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti has stated that she is currently discussing the opportunities and challenges of UAV operation with the United States of America.

Now, she sees that the aviation technology is developing rapidly, one of which is the use of UAV. Crewless flight offers various capability and sophistication, so the industry can have promising economic potential.

She has held a working group meeting between Indonesia and the US to discuss civil flight cooperation between the two countries. The cooperation is a part of the continuation of the US-Indonesia Aviation Working Group program.

“This poses challenges to the regulator, and it needs a specific time to organise an air traffic management. The common challenge lies in the integration of manned and unmanned aircrafts safely and efficiently, especially when they use the same airspace,” said Polana.

She hopes the meeting can give a number of solutions to the challenges faced by the aviation industry today, especially to the regulations of the two countries regarding UAV. The topics discussed were the development of UAV technology and various experiences between the regulators in handling its operation.

Apart from that, she also added that the risks and surveillance towards UAV were also brought into discussion. Moreover, the use of UAV is predicted to give a number of benefits to various sectors.

“Because of that, we need to promote the use of UAV that is not only sustainable, but also in accordance with the regulations without putting aside safety and security,” she said.

The US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan said the working group meeting was held to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries specifically in the aviation department. The aviation industry has an important role in the development of Indonesia, considering its geographical condition which has thousands of islands.

“We see that the UAV technology can be developed and has potential for driving the aviation industry in Indonesia,” said Donovan.

He added that the UAV ability to send aid in a short period of time can be utilised in helping the development of digital economy and e-commerce, and in improving the reliability of economic and infrastructure development.

Aviation observer and a member of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Indonesia Alvin Lie reckons that Indonesia needs to immediately prepare a special regulation for UAV operation.

According to him, the formulation of the regulation regarding UAV both for freight and passenger transport should not be delayed further.

“The government needs to amend Law No. 1 of 2009 on Aviation to manage matters related to the UAV,” said Alvin.

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