Indonesia Lifts Ban on Boeing 737 Max after 2018 Lion Air crash

More than three years after the Lion Air accident, which resulted in the deaths of all 189 people on board, Indonesia has removed its ban on the Boeing 737 Max.

After a catastrophic incident involving an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max in March 2019, the plane maker’s best-selling aircraft was grounded worldwide.

Ethiopian Airlines said on Monday that such flights will resume in February.

The news comes months after the planes were reintroduced to service in the United States and Europe.

The 737 Max is now legal in more than 180 countries, with Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, and Singapore removing their prohibitions this year.

The removal of the prohibition will take effect immediately, according to Indonesia’s transport ministry, and will be the result of authorities’ reviews of adjustments made to the aircraft’s systems.

Airlines must follow airworthiness guidelines and examine their planes before flying the 737 Max again, according to the ministry, which added that government authorities will assess the jets as well.

Lion Air, which had ten such planes prior to the ban, did not immediately reply to a BBC request for comment.

Garuda, Indonesia’s national airline, said it has no intentions to reinstate the jet to its fleet since it is concentrating on debt restructuring.

As part of its turnaround strategy, the state-controlled company, which had only one 737 Max before it was grounded, has stated that it plans to reduce its fleet of aircraft from 142 to 66.

All 189 passengers and crew members were killed when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Six minutes after departing Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 Max on its route to Kenya, crashed, killing all 157 persons on board.

“We have taken sufficient time to monitor the design modification work and the more than 20 months of rigorous rectification process… our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, and cabin crew are confident in the safety of the fleet,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said in a statement.

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