Published on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Plane held hostage in Jakarta drama


JAKARTA – A bizarre story in this week’s Bali Update (www.balidiscovery.com) that could be classified as “Only in Indonesia…”

A group of Batavia Air passengers took a Bali-bound plane hostage after their own aircraft suffered long delays.

According to the Antara news agency, between 20 to 30 passengers staged a sit-in on a Bali-bound Batavia Air plane parked on the apron of Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport last Friday.

The passengers staging the protest were on a Batavia Air flight bound for the Sumatran city of Jambi, when the plane failed to take-off due to a fault in the plane's radar system and returned to its apron parking space.

Frustrated at the delay of their flight and the lack of any clear news from the airline on when they would fly, a group of angry passengers who by then had been waiting more than four hours somehow made their way to another waiting Batavia Air Boeing 737-300 which they boarded and commenced a "sit-in", demanding they be flown to Jambi.

The aircraft held hostage by the angry passengers was originally scheduled to fly to Denpasar.

Following negotiations with airline officials and the provision of compensatory meals, a substitute aircraft was found that allowed the passengers to end their sit-in and board another plane that left for Jambi six hours behind the scheduled departure time.



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