Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government granted permission to the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing B777 freighter to fly from the Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, Riau Islands Province, after being forced to land on Monday on grounds of airspace violations.

"Flight licenses have already been issued. The aircraft can take off," Tanjung Pinang`s Air Force Operations Agency Head, Tanjung Lek Wardoyo, stated when contacted by Antara from Pekanbaru on Thursday, Jan 17.

He said the case filing process was completed and delegated to the Ministry of Transportation. The company agreed to pay the fines imposed as penalties for the violations committed.

"The sanctions (fines) will be announced by PPNS on the official website of the Ministry of Transportation, but the company agreed to the fines imposed for violating the Law on Aviation," he confirmed.

The Ethiopian Airlines cargo aircraft was forced to land by the Indonesian Air Force at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, deploying two F16 fighter planes from the 16th Squadron Lanud Roesmin Nurjadin, Pekanbaru, on Jan 14. The cargo aircraft was reportedly carrying two Rolls Royce engines.

The Ethiopian Airlines cargo aircraft had reportedly departed from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and was en route to Hong Kong. The aircraft then entered Indonesian airspace without prior permission or "flight clearance" (FC) after being contacted by the Indonesian air navigation authority (AirNav) via radio communication.

The aircraft crossed from the western region of the island of Sumatra, precisely on Nias Island, and then entered Riau and the Riau Islands territory and was immediately forcibly taken down by the Indonesian Air Force.

Earlier, efforts for forcing down the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft were constrained by permits to take over the management of civil aviation airspace still controlled by Singapore.

Commander of the 16th Squadron at the Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base, Pekanbaru, Lt Col Bambang Apriyanto informed Antara in Pekanbaru that owing to these constraints, the efforts to force down the aircraft took up to 20 minutes.

"Some of our airspace is above Batam, and some above Riau Islands are still under the Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR)," he pointed out.

During a visit to Batam on Tuesday (Jan 15), Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan remarked that the forced landing of the Ethopian Airlines aircraft by the Indonesian Air Force demonstrated the strength of the Military (TNI) that was able to control the entire area without commotion.

"This shows that the TNI is contrary to what it is portrayed as having no capability. It is not true at all that the TNI is not strong," Panjaitan remarked.

Reporting by FB Anggoro, Eliswan Azly

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
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