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The airplane involved in the accident departing on its delivery flight from Boeing Field (Photo: Lion Air)

Indonesia Removes Ban On Boeing 737 MAX

On Tuesday, the Indonesian transport ministry lifted its ban on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, three years following the first deadly crash involving the Indonesian carrier, Lion Air, killing all 189 people on board. 

The aircraft was originally grounded by aviation authorities globally — following the second fatal accident in March 2019 — which involved a 737 MAX aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines, resulting in the loss of all 157 souls on board. 

The release of the ban on the 737 MAX aircraft in Indonesia comes over a year after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted the grounding order on November 19, 2020, allowing it to return to the skies in the United States on these mandatory fixes:

  • MCAS must compare data from more than one sensor and avoid relying on a single angle-of-attack sensor that’s giving faulty readings.
  • All aircraft must have a warning light that shows when two sensors are disagreeing.
  • When MCAS activates, it must do so only once, rather than activating repeatedly.
  • If MCAS is erroneously activated, flight crews must always be able to counter the movement by pulling back on the control column. 
  • Pilots must get more-rigorous training on MCAS, including time in a MAX simulator

The approval in Indonesia also comes months after the aircraft was given the green light in Europe, and more recently in Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Ethiopia. However, the plane remains grounded in some countries including Russia, but the list continues to grow smaller as the plane proves to be safe. 

Indonesia’s announcement of the recertification of the aircraft comes shortly after Ethiopian Airlines revealed their plans to resume 737 MAX flights. Indonesian authorities will implement the requirements for the aircraft set by the FAA — with the exception to the stick shaker removal procedure.  

Ethiopian Airlines announced plans on Monday that they will return to flying the type of aircraft in February 2022. 

“Safety is our topmost priority, and it guides every decision we make and all actions we take,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, said. “We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work and the more than 20 months of rigorous rectification process, our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet.” 

However, for Indonesian carriers, the lifting of the ban is effective immediately, and carriers planning to operate the aircraft must follow the rigorous airworthiness directives followed by inspections from both the company and the government. 

Currently, there are only two carriers in Indonesia who utilize the 737 MAX which includes, Lion Air which operates nine, and Garuda Indonesia who currently has one in their fleet. Garuda Indonesia has orders for 49 aircraft, and Lion Air has 237  orders on backlog. Deliveries of these aircraft will be able to resume relatively shortly, assuming that individual airlines are willing and ready to accept them. 

Author

  • Chase Hagl grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. His love and passion for Aviation landed him in Orem, Utah where he obtained a B.S. in Aviation Management with a minor in Business Management from Utah Valley University. Chase currently works as a flight attendant in Charleston, SC and is also the primary Inflight ASAP ERC representative for startup airline, Breeze Airways. His experience in the aviation industry spans back four years, working in areas including agriculture application, customer service, maintenance, and flight ops. In his free time, Chase enjoys road biking, astronomy, and flying.

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