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Indonesian Official Gets Airport Shut Down as Revenge for Not Being Allowed on Full Flight

An Indonesian district chief was not happy after he was told there wasn’t enough room for him to board a full flight. Instead of letting it go, he decided to shut down an entire airport in a grand act of revenge.

Marianus Sae was trying to return back to his Ngada district from the city of Kupang so that he could attend an important meeting. The airline he attempted to fly on, Merpati Nusantara, would not sell him a ticket, despite multiple tries on Sae’s part, because the flights had no seats left.

"It is outrageous," said Sae. "I begged for a ticket for five hours to fly to Ngada and their answer was, 'The flight is full.'"

Frustrated and upset, Sae decided that he had no choice but to shut down the airport entirely. He ordered officers to drive their cars onto the runway and stop the plane he wanted to be on from landing. This resulted in the airport being shut down for hours.

Now, local police are trying to figure out the right people to charge.

"Fifteen [officers] have been named suspects for violating the law and trespassing on the runway," said the East Nusa Tenggara Police chief. "Our law specifies that questioning of district heads requires permission, a recommendation from the governor. They are investigating others first — those whose questioning doesn't require a letter. They need time. They're working in stages."

Reports claim that blocking an airport faces a punishment of up to three years in prison and around $82,000 in fines.

Bambang Ervan, Transportation Ministry spokesperson, said that district head Sae had, "tarnished the reputation of the aviation industry."

The investigation is ongoing and it is not yet known if Sae will be charged with anything. 

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