Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan to ban Lion Air pilot and crew caught doing drugs, no sanction for airline

Yesterday, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) arrested a co-pilot and two flight attendants at a “drug party” in South Tangerang. The suspects were later revealed to be Lion Air employees.

Speaking on the matter, Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan has promised to heavily sanction the suspects, especially the pilot, if they are found guilty.

“If the report from BNN is true, that the cockpit crew did indeed consume drugs, we’ll rescind his [pilot] license,” Jonan said yesterday, as quoted by Okezone.

Jonan added that the pilot’s license would be revoked indefinitely to ensure aviation safety.

If that were the case, we wonder why Jonan didn’t say anything about sanctioning Lion Air.

This isn’t by any means the first case involving Lion Air crew members caught using drugs. Between 2010-2012, authorities arrested three Lion Air pilots suspected of consuming illegal narcotics.

Four Lion Air pilots arrested for drugs this decade alone is a worrying statistic, and there may be more that we don’t know about yet. If Jonan is serious about upholding aviation safety standards, the ministry should sanction Lion Air for failing to prevent drug use amongst its crewmembers.

We all remember how Jonan reactively and angrily revoked AirAsia’s permit to fly the Surabaya-Singapore route after the QZ8501 tragedy. Therefore, it’s probably best for Jonan to be proactive and give similarly tough sanctions to Lion Air before an unwanted tragedy strikes the airline.

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