Indonesian Pilots' Drug Use Prompts Government Action

By McCarton Ackerman 01/17/12

The drug-related arrests of several employees of Indonesian airline Lion Air will lead to new rules.

Some pilots' heads really are in
the clouds.
Photo via

A series of drug arrests related to Indonesian airline Lion Air has prompted the Indonesian Transportation Ministry to demand stepped up drug testing of pilots and crew members. A Lion Air pilot was caught in possession of crystal meth last week, while five other drug arrests involving the airline's pilots and crew members took place in 2011. The ministry is now drafting a “Drugs and Alcohol Testing Program” to apply to everyone working in the air transportation industry on a daily basis, including "air traffic controllers, ground crews, technicians and airport security personnel,” says Ministry spokesperson Bambang Ervan. An additional circular mandates that increased drug testing procedures apply to all commercial airlines. Previously, the drug prevention protocol did not apply to airlines operating with fewer than 30 seats, which included local carriers such as Airfast Indonesia and Susi Air. According to the National Committee for Human Safety, human error is the biggest cause of air accidents in Indonesia, blamed for 52% of accidents between 2007 and 2011.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.