Merpati and the MA-60

Merpati Nusantara Airlines is an Indonesian airline which no person in their right mind would fly with due to the number of “incidents” the airline has had over the years.

The airline has a habit of flying into mountains, dropping into the sea, overshooting runways and aircraft catching fire. Sadly, many of these “incidents” have resulted in the loss of human life.

To give you an idea of how good the Merpati reputation is, the airline has been banned from flying to Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Merpati’s latest venture is to purchase 14 Chinese-built Xian MA-60 turboprop aircraft in order to add new routes to its domestic service in Indonesia.

Sadly, Merpati has already lost one of these aircraft when it went down before reaching the runway near Sorong in West Papua on 7th May, 2011 with the loss of all lives.

If you’ve not heard of the Xian MA-60 aircraft, that’s because it’s not really sold to airlines which operate in heavily-regulated airspace.

Purchasers of the Xian MA-60 include highly respected airlines in countries like Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe and China itself where those well known airlines Joy Airlines and Okay Airways fly them – sometimes without even having an “incident”.

And there have been lots of “incidents” featuring the Xian MA-60.

One of the best of those, concerned Air Zimbabwe flight UM239 on 3rd November, 1969 when, on takeoff from Harare International Airport the plane hit five warthogs that were ambling across the runway. Not many international airports can boast warthogs on their runways, so its good to know that you get added value at Harare. Warthogs are tough little creatures, and they caused the undercarriage of the aircraft to collapse but, fortunately, there was no loss of life – human life, that is, it’s not recorded how the warthogs faired.

2 comments to Merpati and the MA-60

  • Burung Indah

    Merpati has not been banned from flying to Malaysia and the other Asian countries you listed. Merpati currently flies to Kuala Lumpur on a regular basis. Says a lot about the accuracy of your article. Get your facts right Grumpy.

  • Yes, you are correct, Merpati does fly to Kuala Lumpur, it is that airline’s only destination outside of Indonesia. However, Merpati flights to the Malaysian ports of Tawau, Penang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu have been terminated, so the post probably should have read “most of Malaysia”

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