Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling

PT Garuda Indonesia’s CEO Ari Askhara has been accused of smuggling a Harley Davidson motorbike into the country, and now faces dismissal. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2019

Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling

  • Garuda is the flagship air carrier of Indonesia

JAKARTA: PT Garuda Indonesia is suspending directors linked to the alleged smuggling of a Harley Davidson motorbike by its chief executive, the company's chief commissioner said on Saturday.

Indonesia's State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir on Thursday said he would fire CEO Ari Askhara for allegedly trying to evade tax by bringing into the country a Harley Davidson motorbike onboard a new plane from France.

Askhara has been suspended pending a shareholders’ meeting due in the coming weeks to determine his fate.

Thohir said the smuggling also involved at least one other Garuda employee based in Europe, who helped transfer the payment and assisted in the delivery of the motorbike. He said the investigation would continue to ascertain whether more employees were involved.

Sahala Lumban Gaol, chief commissioner of Garuda, said in a televised press conference on Saturday that members of the board of directors who were “indicated to have been involved directly or indirectly” in the incident had been suspended.

He declined to disclose names, or say how many were affected.

Askhara has not responded publicly to the accusations. Reuters made repeated attempts to contact him for comment.

Chief Financial Officer Fuad Rizal has been appointed as acting CEO until a shareholders’ meeting to name a new chief is held, Garuda said in a statement on Friday.

Lumban Gaol said interim directors will be appointed to ensure no disruptions to Garuda’s business operations.

The transportation minister on Friday said the company would be fined for not including the motorbike on the cargo list. The bike was taken apart and packed in separate boxes, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Two expensive undeclared bicycles were also found onboard the plane.


Singapore Airlines drops ‘flights to nowhere’ after outcry

Updated 29 September 2020

Singapore Airlines drops ‘flights to nowhere’ after outcry

  • Several carriers have been offering short flights that start and end at the same airport to raise cash

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines said Tuesday it had scrapped plans for “flights to nowhere” aimed at boosting its coronavirus-hit finances after an outcry over the environmental impact.
With the aviation industry in deep crisis, several carriers – including in Australia, Japan and Taiwan – have been offering short flights that start and end at the same airport to raise cash.
They are designed for travel-starved people keen to fly at a time of virus-related restrictions, and have proved surprisingly popular.
But Singapore’s flag carrier – which has grounded nearly all its planes and cut thousands of jobs – said it had ditched the idea following a review.
The carrier has come up with alternative ideas to raise revenue, including offering customers tours of aircraft and offering them the chance to dine inside an Airbus A380, the world’s biggest commercial airliner.
Environmental activists had voiced opposition to Singapore Airlines launching “flights to nowhere,” with group SG Climate Rally saying they would encourage “carbon-intensive travel for no good reason.”
“We believe air travel has always caused environmental harm, and it is now an opportune moment for us to think seriously about transitions instead of yearning to return to a destructive status quo.”
The airline said earlier this month it was cutting about 4,300 jobs, or 20 percent of its workforce, the latest carrier to make massive layoffs.
The International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined $27.8 billion this year.
The group also forecasts that global air traffic is unlikely to return to pre-coronavirus levels until at least 2024.