Indonesia starts review of Lion Air operations after fatal crash

Indonesian authorities will focus on airline's operating procedures and qualifications of flight crew.

    An official from Indonesia's transportation safety agency examines a turbine engine from the crashed Lion Air plane [Beawiharta/Reuters]
    An official from Indonesia's transportation safety agency examines a turbine engine from the crashed Lion Air plane [Beawiharta/Reuters]

    Indonesian authorities are conducting an in-depth review of Lion Air after one of the airline's planes crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta killing all 189 people on board.

    The "special audit" will cover the standard operating procedures of the airline, flight crew qualifications, and coordination with industry stakeholders, Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in a statement on the ministry's website.

    "Since a few days ago, a special audit has been conducted," Budi said.

    The ministry is working with international bodies including the European Union, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Federal Aviation Administration in the US, and action will be taken if problems are identified during the review, he added.

    The audit comes a week after a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea north of the island of Java, in the country's worst aviation disaster in 20 years.

    The plane, a Boeing 737 Max 8, had only been in service for two months, but the pilots on its previous flight had reported technical problems that delayed the plane's arrival into Jakarta.

    Lion Air, Indonesia's biggest airline in terms of passenger numbers, said the technical problem had been fixed before the aircraft took off again.

    Ramp checks

    The government has already ordered a review of Lion's repair and maintenance unit and suspended several managers. Special inspections of the 11 737 Boeing MAX aircraft operated by Lion Air and national carrier Garuda are also under way.

    The Transport Ministry is stepping up safety checks on aircraft to ensure airworthiness, Budi said after observing ramp check procedures at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

    Such examinations would be carried out more "intensively", Budi said. A ramp check usually involves the inspection of documentation, flight preparations and a check of the aircraft itself.

    The authorities have extended their search for the crashed plane's fuselage and cockpit voice recorder after divers reported seeing some of the wreckage on the seabed.

    The plane's flight data recorder was recovered on Thursday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera