Indonesian gov't warns local chief who blocked airport runway after failing to get on flight

The Indonesian government has warned a district chief who forced an eastern airport to close temporarily after he failed to get a ticket on a booked flight.

Ngada District head Marianus Sae ordered dozens of city security officers to block the runway of Turarelo airport on Flores island on Saturday, forcing a Merpati Nusantara Airlines plane to fly back to Kupang, the capital of East Nusatenggara province.

The closure lasted more than two hours. Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said Sae was denied a ticket from Kupang because the flight was fully booked.

He described the closure as unlawful and could harm the safety.

Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi deeply regretted the incident and issued a warning to the district chief.