The Indonesian Department of Air Communication has ordered the temporary grounding of all MD-90 aircraft operated by Lion Air. The grounding order issued on March 11 will have at least an initial effect of a minimum 3 or 4 days to permit a complete safety audit following two landing mishap involving Lion Air's MD-90s.
The first incident took place in Batam on February 23rd when a Lion Air MD-90 landed nose down after being unable to deploy its nose gear. The second and latest incident saw another MD90 owned by Lion Air skid off the runway after landing at Soekarno-Hatta Airport Jakarta on March 9th.
The newly appointed Director General of Civil Aviation, Herry Bhakti Sigayuda told the press that the grounding time was needed to determine if the MD-90s operated by Lion Air were still air worthy.
Sigayuda explained that every air crash is due to one of three factors, namely: human error, weather or a technical failure of the aircraft. "Its our responsibility and the duty of the National Air Safety Committee to find out what happened, " he added.
According to data kept by the Department of Civil Aviation, Lion Air is the only Indonesian carrier operating MD 90s with 5 airplanes of that type registered on the airline's books.
The Chief Operating Officer of Lion Air Edward Sirait, told the Bali Post that his airline faces potential losses of Rp. 1 billion (US$89.250) due to the grounding. Sirait said the Lion Air is scheduled to receive two new Boeing 737-900ER in Jakarta on March 17 and March 25, 2009.
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