Lion Air Grounds Three B-737-9 MAX

The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation has issued orders temporarily grounding three Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft flown by Lion Air. 

The grounding order took effect on Saturday, 06 January 2024.

The FAA ordered the grounding of the aircraft order after a modified emergency exit on a Boeing 737-9 MAX operated by Alaska Airlines “popped off” on Sunday, 05 January 2024, while flying at an altitude of 17,000 feet on a flight from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California.

Fortunately, none of the seats adjacent to the hole created by the suddenly missing door were occupied. Assorted pieces of baggage, seat cushions, clothing, and handphones were sucked out of the plane. Such was the force of the resulting vacuum that one male passenger had his shirt ripped off his body while the seats next to the gaping hole were bent out of their original shape. 

As reported by, the Alaskan Airline flight returned to Portland, Oregon, where it landed safely. 

The grounding of the three Lion Air Airplanes was ordered by Indonesia’s Director General of Civil Aviation. As part of the grounding, the Indonesian government has ordered detailed inspections and evaluation of the subject aircraft. 

The grounded Lion Air B737-9 MAX aircraft have PK-LRF, PK-LRG, and PK-LRI registration numbers.

Other aircraft replaced the grounded Boeing 737-800NG with other aircraft, such as Boeing 737-800NG, Boeing 737-900ER, Airbus 330-300CEO, and Airbus 330-900NEO.

Communications Strategic Director of Lion Air, Danang Mandala Prihantoro, told that the Airline is coordinating closely with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA-RI) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) inspecting the affected aircraft type and the process of re-certifying that the aircraft are airworthy. 

The FAA published a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) and an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD 2024-02-51) on Saturday, 06 January 2024.

This directive ordered the immediate cessation of operation for all Boeing 737-9-MAS aircraft that have undergone modification with Mid Exit Door Plugs similar to that on the Air Alaska plane that experienced the mid-air mishap. 

The temporary grounding of the Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft of Lion Air has been confirmed by Boeing as not falling within the narrow category undergoing the closest scrutiny. 

Lion Air’s Boeing 737-9 MAX does not use the Mid Exit Door Plug but uses the Mid Cabin Emergency Exit Door Type II. This means that the system on the middle emergency door is functioning actively and can be used during an evacuation process.

The results of the current reviews performed by the Indonesia Director General of Civil Aviation show that the Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft operated by Lion Air mean that the Lion Air aircraft are airworthy, subject to further and future directives issued by the FAA and DGCA-RI.

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