ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story
The Angel of Jakarta Is Pure Grace Under Fire


Illustration for TIME by Nila Aye
By SHIRLEY BRADY

A year ago this month, British Airways' youngest country manager was faced with the toughest decision of her career. Claire Hatton, then 26, began her stint as BA's Indonesia chief in December 1997. The following April, she announced that BA was adding an extra flight to its five Jakarta-London weekly slots--a propitious marketing decision, as it would shortly turn out. Within weeks, the Asian economic crisis and the student-led protests against President Suharto's rule had brought the country to a standstill. Rioting became intense, and BA was soon the only foreign airline still operating in Indonesia. The British embassy was urging Hatton to close her ticket office in Jakarta, as well as operations at the city's airport, and to leave the country before all hell broke loose. She flatly refused.

"My thinking at the time was, I could get out right then and there, but what about my staff?" Hatton says. "They were the ones who would have to stay behind and face the consequences." She told her 40-member team--many of them ethnic Chinese and hence at great risk--that she would stay but they were free to go. Most of them remained, but they brought their spouses and children to BA's city office for safety. She moved many of them to a hotel and assembled a core group to get on with the job of putting people on planes.

"Roads were being torn up, so we had to sleep on the office floor," she recalls. "There was absolute chaos at the airport--I thought the floors would collapse. I slept a total of 19 hours in six days as we worked day and night to get people to safety. Two of our staff members were stoned by rioters as they drove to the airport with more tickets. I learned later that looters had tried to break into my house, but my staff had convinced them to go."

The young manager's parents were frantic, though somewhat reassured by her calm phone calls. Her fiance Chris, a British soldier, was denied permission for safety reasons to join her. The British press dubbed her "the Angel of Jakarta" and kept readers posted on her progress amid the violence that eventually left more than 500 dead. "What kept me going?" Hatton asks. "My staff--their safety was always at the forefront of my mind--and sheer adrenaline." That determination drove her to oversee the addition of extra flights and to coordinate the safe evacuation of at least 2,000 passengers.

Hatton's initiative won her a "People of the Year" award from the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation in November. This year she was given the first Outstanding Service Award for Asia-Pacific at the OAG Airline of the Year awards. Her response? "I was just doing my job."




Daily

May 10, 1999

Hot Deals
Indonesia has launched a VIP ("visit Indonesia Program") card to entice bargain-lovers

Web Crawling
Book Paris' most famous museum online

Detour
Melbourne offers g'dining and g'drinking to you, mate

Main Feature
'Air rage' was the least of BA's Indonesia chief's worries during the 1998 riots



ASIANOW Travel Home | TIME Asia home

AsiaNow


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.