Two Indonesian pilots suspended after falling asleep in cockpit

Taiwo Ajayi
3 Min Read

Batik Air, the full-service carrier of Indonesia’s Lion Group, temporarily suspended two pilots after they fell asleep in the cockpit during a domestic flight in late January, the carrier said in a statement.

Flight 6723 was on its way to Jakarta from Kendari in Sulawesi on Jan 25 with 153 passengers on board when neither the pilot nor co-pilot responded to communications from the air traffic controller and another plane, according to the National Transportation Safety Commission.


They were trying to contact the Airbus A320 after it failed to follow the designated route and headed past Jakarta towards the Indian Ocean.

Twenty-eight minutes after the last recorded transmission from the co-pilot, the captain woke up and became aware that the aircraft was not on the correct flight path. He then saw that his second-in-command or SIC was sleeping and woke him up, the NTSC wrote in the preliminary investigation report of what it described as a “serious incident”.

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In the previous leg from Jakarta to Kendari, the pilot suggested that the second officer “take a rest” as he was aware that the SIC did not get a proper rest. “The SIC rested in the cockpit and slept for about 30 minutes,” the report said.

Batik Air said in the statement on March 9 that it operates with an adequate rest policy for its crew, in accordance with regulations, to ensure they are in optimal physical and mental condition when carrying out their duties.

Lion Air’s safety record has been in the spotlight over the years. The privately held carrier has suffered several hull losses – the industry term for aircraft damaged beyond repair. 

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In 2018, one of the carrier’s Boeing-737 Max 8 planes crashed shortly after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people aboard. It was later revealed that there was a design flaw in the aircraft after a second crash in Ethiopia, resulting in the global grounding of the aircraft type for years.

In 2013, a two-month-old Lion Air Boeing 737-800 landed in the water, short of a runway at Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport. The aircraft fuselage broke apart on impact, but there were no fatalities. 

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