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Indonesia Allows Boeing 737 Max Resume Operation After 2018 Fatal Crash

Indonesia’s Transport Ministry on Tuesday said that it has given the green light for the Boeing 737 MAX to resume operation, three years after the Lion Air tragedy that killed 189 people, following a review of the aircraft’s system modifications.

“We have coordinated with aviation authorities and operators from around the world, especially ASEAN. Until now, several countries have allowed the 737 MAX aircraft to resume operation,” the Director-General of Air Transportation Novie Riyanto said in a statement, reported Indonesia media Tempo.

In October 2018, the Lion Air 737 MAX plunged toward the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta airport in Indonesia, killing all 189 people onboard the plane.

A similar crash happened in March 2019 involving one of the aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines, which saw 157 people killed, prompting the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground all Boeing 737 MAX planes.

According to Riyanto, the Indonesian government has decided to lift the ban on the Boeing 737 MAX after completing the evaluation of the aircraft system modification with several aviation regulators.

“The activity was attended by representatives of the United States Federal Aviation Administration in Singapore, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Boeing, and was also attended virtually by the Directorate General of Air Transportation, and Boeing Seattle,” he said.

The government has asked the airlines to follow airworthiness directives and inspect their planes before they can fly the 737 MAX again, the ministry said.

The approval of the aircraft’s return in Indonesia comes months after it returned to service in the United States and Europe, and follows the more recent lifting of grounding orders in countries including Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Ethiopia.

China, the first country to ground the aircraft, also lifted the operating ban on the Boeing 737 MAX in December after assessing the aircraft safety adjustments to be “adequate.”

The FAA lifted its grounding ban on Boeing 737 MAX in November 2020 after its administrator, Steve Dickson, signed an order that allows the aircraft to return to commercial service, following a comprehensive and methodical safety review process that took 20 months to complete.

“During that time, FAA employees worked diligently to identify and address the safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302,” FAA said in a statement.

FAA also noted that Dickson personally took the recommended pilot training and piloted the Boeing 737 MAX to experience the handling of the aircraft firsthand.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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