On Oct. 29, 2018 the world awoke to the devastating news that an Indonesian passenger plane had crashed into the Java sea just north of Jakarta. The Lion Air flight, carrying 189 passengers, was headed for Pangkal Pinang but crashed shortly after it’s departure from Jakarta following requests from the pilot to return to Jarkarta due to technical difficulties. This request was permitted by air traffic control, however contact was soon lost with the aircraft. No official reports have been made yet as the search and rescue teams continue to search through the debris for any survivors. However, all 189 passengers on board are feared by experts to have died in the crash.
Questions over safety of Indonesian aviation
Although the cause of the crash has not yet been determined, there has been much speculation regarding the safety of the airline and this event prompted Australia to advise it’s government officials not to fly with Lion Air. Furthermore, the disaster has also reignited concerns over the safety of the Indonesian aviation industry, an industry which has had a tumultuous past – it’s aircraft were banned from US & EU airspace several years ago due to a series of incidents and concerns over safety.
Lion Air, founded in 1999, is the largest budget airline in Indonesia. The plane involved in the crash, a Boeing 737 with 800 flight hours logged, was reported as being ‘brand-new’ in a series of tweets released after Monday’s crash and only began operating under the Lion Air brand a few months ago. The airline’s CEO Edward Sirait has revealed that the aircraft had experienced a “technical issue” the night before. The cause of the crash remains unknown as the search for the black box continues, however it is known that the pilot requested a return to the departure airport only minutes after take-off. As the investigation continues, the safety of the Indonesian Aviation industry remains under scrutiny due to this devastating incident.