"Airport workers caused consternation yesterday by cutting off the tail of the wrecked Garuda passenger jet lying in a twisted, melted mess at the end of Yogyakarta runway, and painting out its company logo and registration number.
The dawn cover-up followed a similar attempt at concealing the identity of a crashed Adam Air Boeing 737 just two weeks ago, after what was described as a "hard landing" at Surabaya airport, in east Java, Indonesia. All passengers escaped from that incident unharmed, but the jet broke in two.
Indonesian air safety officials - including Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa - are facing tough questions about whether the country is serious about improving its appalling record.
Note however that the flight recorder from Garuda flight 200 has arrived in Australia, so that should inhibit further coverups.
A comment from "The Times":
"Unpredictability, improvisation and casualness can be charming when you are travelling on a flexible schedule by boat or bus and train. But when it comes to aeroplanes, what you want most of all is for everything to be done by the book. In Indonesia, you sometimes get the impression that the book has been mislaid"
A reader writes:
"It is a very common practice to cover over any identifying marks on an aircraft that has been involved in an accident or incident. It is also done when an aircraft enters storage. The airlines do not want or need the bad press. It is more about avoiding bad publicity than a cover up. I have been working in aviation for over 24 years, and part of my duties included aircraft accident recoveries, damage evaluations and field repairs for a Fortune 500 company. Normally the first thing the airline does, or ask us to do is to cover up the aircraft markings. It is not a Muslim thing."
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