Kalitta Air (K4, Detroit Willow Run) has filed an objection to Garuda Indonesia (GA, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) and its application for an Exemption and Amended Foreign Air Carrier Permit.

Last month, Garuda applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for exemption authority as well as an amended Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) ahead of plans to start Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta-Los Angeles Int'l via Tokyo Narita flights later in the year.

As such, it sought authority to conduct scheduled foreign air transportation of persons, property and mail from any point or points behind Indonesia, via Indonesia and intermediate points, to any point or points in the United States and beyond, as well as charter flights pursuant to Part 212 of the DOT’s regulations to the full extent permitted under the U.S.-Indonesia air services agreement.

However, US cargo specialist Kalitta has since objected to the application on the grounds that Indonesia has yet to ratify the terms of the 2004 US-Indonesia Open Skies agreement. Kalitta cites a specific case in September 2010 when it applied to the Indonesian civil aviation authority (Direktorat Jenderal Perhubungan Udara - DJPU) for permission to conduct 4th Freedom cargo flights between Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta and Indianapolis Int'l. The DJPU reportedly rejected the application on the grounds that Indonesian domestic law required cargo charters out of Indonesia are to be operated by Indonesian carriers alone. A subsequent request for reconsideration was rejected while diplomatic engagement also failed.

Kalitta says that the Indonesian government's explanation at the time said that until Open Skies was formally ratified by the country's legislature, the Ministry of Transport was bound by the aforementioned domestic law.

"It is therefore Kalitta's position that until Indonesia has ratified, and implemented, the terms of the 2004 bilateral, or, barring that, can demonstrate that the law forbidding foreign air carrier transport of Fourth Freedom charter air cargo has been rescinded, the Department cannot grant the authority requested by Garuda, as there is no basis in comity and reciprocity for such an action."