JAKARTA, Indonesia ( Associated Press) – Indonesia said Wednesday it is lifting restrictions on Boeing’s 737 MAX plane, three years after it crashed in the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.
The transport ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the plane would be allowed to fly into Indonesia, but only after airlines followed airworthiness instructions.
Novi Riyanto, the ministry’s director general of civil aviation, said the ministry would also conduct inspections before allowing aircraft to operate in the country.
“Several flight operators have stated that they have placed airworthiness orders for 737 MAX aircraft in accordance with FAA provisions and will train and prepare simulators at the nearest facility in Singapore,” Rianto said.
Governments halted Boeing 737 Max after a total of 346 people died in the crashes of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia on October 29, 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight on March 10, 2019.
Investigators blamed a computer system that pushed the plane’s nose down in flight and could not be overridden by pilots. Boeing has made technical upgrades to fix such problems.
Earlier this month, China became the last major market to approve the Boeing 737 MAX, after the United States allowed flights to resume in December 2020. EU regulators gave the permission in January. Brazil and Canada have also approved.
Anton Sahdi, whose 24-year-old cousins Muhammad Rafi Ardian and Riyan Ariandi died in the 2018 crash, said he regretted the government’s decision to re-fly the 737 MAX.
“The government has to ensure that the aircraft meets safety standards so that such incidents do not recur,” Sahadi said.
“I don’t see the urgency yet for Boeing’s 737 MAX planes to fly again in Indonesia. The families of the victims still haven’t finished resolving the problems with Boeing,” he said.
Sahadi was referring to complaints from some families of crash victims that a $2.5 billion settlement between Boeing and the US Justice Department excluded him from engaging in compensation negotiations.