By Putu Deny Wijaya
Pelita Air Service – The Airline Poised To Replace Garuda Indonesia
The government is reportedly preparing Pelita Air Service to replace the state-owned airline Garuda Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia is facing the threat of failing to restructure after incurring debt whose value is said to have exceeded Rp 70 trillion.
PT Pelita Air Service (PAS), an airline owned by PT Pertamina (Persero) is planned to serve scheduled flights to replace PT Garuda Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. So far, the airline led by Albert Burhan is a charter airline with experience in the oil and gas sector as well as government special missions with little history of scheduled flights. However, after appointing Albert to fill the position of President Director which had been vacant for 2 years in early October, Pelita Air applied for a scheduled flight permit to the Ministry of Transportation. The airline is also widely rumored to be taking over Garuda’s domestic flights.
Albert Burhan is no stranger to the world of aviation. He is the former President Director of Citilink Indonesia and has had a long career at Garuda Indonesia. Quoted from its official website, the establishment of Pelita Air began with Pertamina’s need to support exploration, exploitation, cargo, and transportation of oil and gas and/or personnel.
Initially, in 1963, Pertamina created an air service department called Pertamina Air Service. In 1970 or 7 years later, Pertamina closed the air service department and instead established PT Pelita Air Service (PAS), an autonomous subsidiary to provide continuous flight operations.
The airline was then given a mission to carry out flight operations to serve and coordinate flight operations economically in the oil and gas industry in Indonesia through charter flights and related activities. Including transmigration activities, firefights, refugees, red cross, oil spills, aerial photography, cargo transportation.
Furthermore, Pelita Air’s services are extended to flights for VVIP, offshore, medical evacuation, seismic operations, geological survey, a helicopter pilot for hire, support and training. For decades, Pelita Air has provided flight services for several oil and gas companies in Indonesia, both foreign and domestic companies.
From 2000 to 2005, Pelita Air tried to do business with regular flights for many routes. However, in order to focus more on its main business, Pelita Air decided to concentrate on air flight charters. Regular flights were closed in 2005. Pelita Air Service has a subsidiary in the field of aircraft maintenance and repair, namely PT IndoPelita Aircraft Services.
In addition, Pelita Air also has an airstrip exclusively in Pondok Cabe, South Jakarta, which consists of hangars, warehouses and a 2,000-meter runway. Pelita Air Service operates several fleets, including rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft to pass through all of Indonesia’s terrain. Among them, ATR 42-500, ATR 72-500, CASA 212-200.