Sending a big message about improvements in Indonesian airlines safety, the European Union (EU) has removed Indonesia's largest domestic airline, Lion Air from their EU Blacklist.
Lion Air now joins the likes of Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia Indonesia, Batik Air (Lion Air's full service subsidiary) and Citilink (Garuda's low cost subsidiary)in that it could operate flights in to the EU if it wished as safety is no longer of concern.
What is the EU Blacklist?
A list of airlines banned from flying into European airspace due to safety concerns arising from alleged poor aircraft maintenance and/or regulatory oversight. Airlines banned by the EU may have a flawless safety record however the potential risk towards passenger safety is deemed by the EU as too high and a ban is put in place. All the world's major airlines are assessed by the EU whether they opertate flights to Europe or not making it an exceptional resource when lokoing at airline safety.
Lion Air's sister company, Thai Lion Air was never on the EU blacklist and it has also passed the very important IOSA audit (see below) to get its IOSA certification.
Lion Air Indonesia and subsidiary Batik Air are in the process of doing this audit and if all goes well should have their IOSA certification by September 2016.
What is IOSA Certification?
The IATA* Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification audit is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. Airlines are re evaluated every two years. Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate.
*IATA (International Air Transport Association)
Using the AirlineRatings.com seven star safety rating system, if Lion Air complete and pass their IOSA safety audit, it will make them, along with Garuda, the safest airline in Indonesia.
Lion Air, along with the majority of Indonesian Airlines have had a string of incidents and crashes over the last decade which has put Indonesian aviation under scrutiny for quite some time. Lion Air however, whilst having had 6 incidents over the past 10 years, last had an accident involving the loss of lives back in 2004.
Flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia have had only thee incidents in the past 10 years but the incident in 2007 resulted in the death of 21 people.
AirAsia has only had one incident in 2014 but tragically that resulted in the death of all 162 passengers and crew on board.
Lion AIr Expansion
The Lion Group is preparing to build up its presence in the international market after focusing almost entirely on domestic operations in its initial 15 years. According to CAPA, Lion is the largest domestic airline group outside China and the US, but has a small international operation that is only about the size of Poland's national carrier LOT.
The group has been working hard to raise its safety standards and public image and the announcement from the EU is a big step towards this.
IOSA certification and European Union approval should make it easier for the airlines under the Lion Group to secure approval from civil aviation authorities in several countries which will enable it to expand at a rapid rate into international markets.
Lion Air has previously hinted at flights between Indonesia and Australia to compete with rival AirAsia and if things continue on the up for the Lion group, this may soon become a reality as their safety standards will better meet Australian standards.