Ombudsman official demands grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Indonesia

Norman Harsono and Kharishar Kahfi

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta

Jakarta   /  Sun, March 10, 2019  /  08:29 pm

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holds a piece of plane debris at a crash site after the crash of flight ET302 on March 10, 2019 in Bishofu, a town some 60 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.(Courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines/-)

An aviation expert who is also an official at the Indonesian Ombudsman, Alvin Lie, demanded that the Indonesian government ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that were still operating for Indonesian airlines following a fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight on Sunday, which killed 149 passengers and eight crew members in a town 60 kilometers southeast of Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Alvin, who is also a former legislator, said the Transportation Ministry should pay attention to the latest accident in Ethiopia, as the aircraft involved in the accident was the same model as the one that crashed in Indonesia in late October last year.

“The ministry should be ready to temporarily ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 that are still operating in Indonesia in order to prevent more accidents,” Alvin told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Garuda Indonesia has one Boeing 737 MAX 8 while Lion Air has 14 Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft, including the MAX 8 that crashed last year.

According to Boeing's website, the company, as of Jan. 31, had received 5,111 orders of Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft, and had delivered 350 to various airlines globally. It has received an order of 50 MAX series from Garuda Airlines, but only delivered one, a MAX 8 in 2017. Flight news website flightglobal.com reported that the company had deferred the deliveries of the remaining 49 until 2020.

Lion Air has ordered 201 of the MAX series and Boeing has delivered 14 of them since 2017.

The Transportation Ministry’s air transportation director general, Polana B. Pramesti, was not immediately available on Sunday for comment.

Swedish flight tracker Flightradar24.com tweeted on Sunday that the available data showed that the ET-302's vertical speed was unstable after takeoff.