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Cablegate: Announcement of Faa Category 2 Downgrade Of

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #1077/01 1062236
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 162236Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEANHA/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE IMMEDIATE 5940
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4368

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001077

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EEB/TRA/AN, AND CA/OCS
SINGAPORE FOR FAA - WALSH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR CASC ID
SUBJECT: ANNOUNCEMENT OF FAA CATEGORY 2 DOWNGRADE OF
INDONESIA

REF: A. STATE 39366
B. JAKARTA 906
C. JAKARTA 931

1. (U) This is an action request for the Department of
Transportation and/or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA);
please see para 6.

2. (SBU) We delivered news of the FAA's decision to downgrade
Indonesia to Category Two under the International Aviation
Safety Assessment (IASA) program to Minister of
Transportation M. Hatta Rajasa on April 4. In that meeting,
FAA representatives noted that the FAA had reached the
decision on an urgent basis without an IASA review. We also
informed Rajasa of the likely imminent release of a downgrade
announcement by the FAA. It appears on April 5, the FAA
changed Indonesia's category rating on the IASA excel
spreadsheet on its website to reflect Indonesia's new status.
However, there was no public announcement of the downgrade,
and neither the U.S. nor Indonesian mainstream media has
picked up the news.

3. (SBU) Partially in response to the FAA's decision, Post
held an Emergency Action Committee (EAC) meeting on March 29
(ref B) to discuss civil aviation issues. The EAC agreed to
issue a warden message and suggest updates to the Consular
Information Sheet (CIS) for Indonesia to update American
citizens about the civil aviation situation in Indonesia.
Post and Washington agreed on language for the CIS and warden
message the week of April 9; both documents mention the FAA
downgrade. In addition they recommend that American citizens
flying to Indonesia should, "fly directly to their
destinations on international air carriers from countries
whose civil aviation authorities meet international aviation
safety standards for the oversight of their air carrier
operations based on the FAA IASA program". This
recommendation, which may prove highly controversial here
when it becomes public knowledge, follows directly from the
FAA's decision to downgrade Indonesia's IASA rating.

4. (SBU) In our view, neither the CIS nor the Warden message
is an appropriate vehicle to announce a significant and
potentially controversial FAA regulatory action such as the
Indonesia downgrade. The CIS is posted on the State
Department website without a press release, and the
information relating to civil aviation is located on page 5
of the document. Embassy warden messages are posted on the
Embassy website and sent electronically to American citizens,
hotels, American businesses, and others. Media outlets in
Jakarta do not receive the warden messages directly.
Although the media would likely get wind of the downgrade
from the warden message, neither the CIS nor Warden message
would explain the justification behind the downgrade. The
FAA needs to publicize its decision-, not the Embassy.

Delay Impacting on Civil Aviation Reform
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Although we understand some trade press is aware of
the FAA's action, delay in formally announcing the downgrade
is also affecting our ability to leverage it into reforms to
improve the civil aviation sector. Although officials at the
Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) were taken
aback in the April 5 meeting by the news of the imminent
downgrade, and were initially open to a FAA Technical Review,
they now appear to be backpedaling. In a meeting on April
11, DGCA Director of Safety, Iing Iskandar, thanked us for
"keeping the downgrade out of the public eye." Iskandar also
expresses hope that Indonesia could marshal documentation to
upgrade their ranking prior to its release. Iskandar passed
on Director General Budhi Suyitno's doubts about an FAA
Technical Review and the funding mechanism for it.

6. (SBU) Finally, the lack of public information on the FAA's
decision is impacting on the Embassy's ability to reach out
to high level GOI officials, since, in the absence of public
awareness of the issue, most do not see it as a high profile
issue with much impact on Indonesian civil aviation.

Action Request
--------------

7. (SBU) We request the FAA/Department of Transportation
issue its standard press release announcing the FAA
downgrade, with appropriate supporting information, as soon
as possible, preferably on April 16.

8. (SBU) Post appreciates the FAA's assistance and expertise
and hopes prompt action can help increase the momentum for
change in the Indonesian civil aviation sector.

HEFFERN
HEFFERN

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