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February 01, 2014

Merpati Nusantara Airline has ceased its flight operations

PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines, operating as Merpati Nusantara Airlines, is an airline in Indonesia based in Central Jakarta, Jakarta. It is a major domestic airline operating scheduled services to more than 25 destinations in Indonesia, as well as scheduled international services to East Timor and Malaysia. Its main base is Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta.The word merpati is Indonesian for "dove", and Nusantara is a Javanese word found in the Pararaton ("the Book of Kings", probably written in the 16th century) and meaning "the outer islands" and now referring to the Indonesian archipelago. Merpati is also listed in category 1 by Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority for airline safety quality and plans to get IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) from International Air Transport Association. It has a maintenance facility based at Juanda International Airport, Surabaya as well as a simulator facility at the Merpati Training Centre in Surabaya which houses a Fokker F-27, AVIC MA60 and CN-235 full motion simulators.
Merpati has stopped its service from January 1, 2014 to January 5, 2014 and the authority has suspended its flight permit until end of February 2014, while waiting for Merpati financial restructuring

PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines has ceased all flight operations until at least March 2014 while the cash-strapped carrier undergoes urgent financial restructuring.
Members of the public telephoning the Merpati Call Center are being told that all flights are cancelled until March 2014.

Reports in the media say crew and staff have not received wages for the past 3 months as the airline struggled to pay insurance premiums and fuel bills  for their fleet of aircraft.

Added to the above, the airline must now also find the funds to make refunds to all those holding paid tickets for future flights

The CEO of Merpati announced last week that flights had been cancelled for the period February 1-5, 2014. The latest reports, however, suggest that all flight operations have been suspended until at least sometime in March 2014.

Merpati Nusantara Airline at a glance 

The airline was established and started operations on 6 September 1962. It was set up by the Indonesian government as the second state airline, with the main objective of taking over the network of domestic services developed by the Air Force since 1958. During 1962, it also took over the routes in West Irian (formerly Dutch New Guinea) previously operated by KLM subsidiary, De Kroonduif, which had been flown by Garuda since 1962.

With a start up capital of 10 million rupiah, Merpati began operations in Kalimantan, using a fleet of four de Havilland Otter/DHC-3s and two DC-3 Dakotas provided by the Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU). Pilots and technicians were supplied by the Indonesian Air Force, Garuda Indonesia Airways and other civil aviation companies. Its mission, defined by the government, was to become an 'air bridge' linking remote areas of Indonesia and thereby helping to build the economies of such regional areas. The air bridge theme is the basis of the current Merpati logo, displayed on the tails of its aircraft.

The first Managing Director appointed was Air Commodore Sutoyo Adiputro Henk (1962–1966) who had an initial staff of 17 people. In 1963, the airline expanded its routes to include Jakarta - Tanjung Karang (Bandar Lampung), Jakarta - Semarang, and Jakarta - Balikpapan. In 1964, the airline took over operations from NV de Kroonduif Garuda, increasing its aircraft fleet to 12. With the addition of three DC-3 Dakotas, two DHC-6 Twin Otters and 1 DHC-2 Beaver, Merpati began to grow, with operations now reaching Sumatra, Papua and Nusa Tenggara Barat. Further expansion saw the addition of more aircraft, including three Dornier DO-28s and six Pilatus Porter PC-6s, and staff numbers growing to 583 people.

In October 1978, the airline was taken over by Garuda, but continued to operate under its own name. Merpati was integrated into the Garuda Indonesia Group in September 1989, but was granted government permission to separate in 1993, although the split did not actually take place until April 1997. It is currently owned by the Indonesian Government (93.2%) and Garuda Indonesia (6.8%).

In June 2011, the Merpati commercial director stated that the airline had a requirement for 15 jet airliners, 40 aircraft with a capacity of 50 passengers and 20 more able to carry 20 passengers, such as the MA-60, the NC-212 or DHC-6 Twin Otter. The following month, with the airline suffering from financial difficulties, the government and the legislature agreed to provide a capital injection of Rp.516 billion ($60.7 million) to Merpati Nusantara Airlines in the 2012 state budget

Sources : Indonesian press and wiikipedia 

Updated news
PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines president director Asep Ekanugraha’s head is silhouetted by the overhead projector as he briefs the press on the problems of the state-owned carrier in Jakarta on Monday. The cash-strapped airline is relying on partners to help it resume flights in March. JP/NurhayatiCash-strapped carrier, PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines, has reached out to business partners that could provide them with the working capital necessary to jump-start operations.

The state-owned airline hopes to see joint-operation (KSO) deals come to fruition by March.

Merpati president director, Asep Ekanugraha, said that the airline hoped to resume operations on March 1 after conducting intensive reviews of their business this month.

“We are now focusing on our survival, during which we will review our costs, routes, human capital and business strategies,” he said, adding that the airline planned to scrap unpopular routes.

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