"Based an audit results, 61 flight permits were issued to five airline companies, which have been found violating license regulations set by the government," Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan announced during a press conference.
He revealed that four of the 61 permits belonged to Garuda Indonesia, 35 to Lion Air, 18 to TransNusa, and three to Susi Air.
As an outcome, the flight permits had been frozen, and the concerned companies must apply again to secure the permits.
"The sanction is a ban on these flights, and we have urged the concerned companies to submit an application for the permits immediately," he remarked.
He stated that the transportation ministry, in cooperation with the National Police Crime Investigation Unit, had conducted an investigation to unveil possible violations by airline companies.
The investigation also involved five airport authorities in Soekarno-Hatta in Cengkareng, Kualanamu in Medan, Juanda in Surabaya, Ngurah Rai in Denpasar, and Hasanuddin in Makassar.
He said the investigation was aimed at exposing airport authority officials who might be involved in illegal flight permit issuance.
Seven officials of the transportation ministry and airport authorities have been transferred to other departments to make way for auditing and investigation.
Two of the officials were the heads of air transport airworthiness and security and slot-time distribution unit in the third airport authorities region of Surabaya and the principal operational inspector of the transportation ministry in AirAsia.
Other officials were from Airnav Indonesia including Airnav Surabaya general manager, Air Traffic Service operations manager in Surabaya, and Airnav central office Air Traffic Service senior manager.
Officials from the airport operator Angkasa Pura I include department head of operations of the Juanda Airport PT AP Chapter and head of Juanda Airport PT AP I Apron Movement Control in Surabaya.
The probe was a follow up of the investigations into the case of an unauthorized flight of AirAsia QZ8501 that crashed in the Karimata Strait waters in Central Kalimantan, on December 28, 2014.
(Reporting by Juwita Trisna Rahayu/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/A014)