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Jakarta Post

Ministry to decide on fate of Boeing MAX jets in Indonesia

  • Riza Roidila Mufti and Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 11, 2019   /   03:35 pm
Ministry to decide on fate of Boeing MAX jets in Indonesia A man carries a piece of debris on his head at the crash site of a Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday. A Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board. (AFP/Michael Twelde)

The Transportation Ministry is expected to announce its decision over the operation of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 jets in the country, following a second crash involving the airplane model on Sunday.

The ministry’s airworthiness and aircraft operations director, Capt. Avirianto, told The Jakarta Post that ministry officials held a meeting on Monday with representatives from Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air to discuss the matter.

The two airlines currently operate Boeing’s MAX models, with Lion Air using the 10 MAX 8 and two MAX 9 planes.

Garuda has only received one of the 50 MAX-series aircraft it ordered.

“[The meeting is about] the ministry’s special supervision [over aircraft types], which started last October. The result will be discussed further with the ministry’s director general [of air transportation] in the afternoon,” Avirianto said.

Ethiopian Air flight ET302 crashed just 6 minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital en route to Nairobi. The airline confirmed on Sunday evening Jakarta time that there were no survivors among the 157 people on board. An Indonesian citizen was among the fatalities.

The accident took place roughly five months after the same type of aircraft belonging to Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea, killing all passengers and crew members.

Indonesian aviation observer Alvin Lie, who also serves as a member of the Indonesian Ombudsman, quickly called on the ministry to pay very close attention to the crash in Ethiopia, as well as be ready to temporarily ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes that are still operating in Indonesia.

In a statement issued on Monday, the ministry’s air transportation director general, Polana B. Pramesti, claimed the transportation ministry had been monitoring the operation of such aircraft since last October.

“We will continue to make improvements, which range from improving operational procedures and [conducting] additional training to following up the airworthiness directive issued by [the United States] Federal Aviation Administration,” Polana said in the statement.

She added the ministry had been working with the National Transportation Security Committee (KNKT), Boeing and other air transportation institutions to evaluate accidents involving MAX-model planes.

“We will also look into the investigation of the Ethiopian accident and coordinate with the FAA to decide on operational improvements for Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft,” Polana said. (yan)