Tuesday, March 17, 2009


akarta, Mar 10, 2009 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- The ministry of transportation has ordered the grounding of all Lion Air MD-90 aircraft for three to four days for safety checks after one of them skidded at Soekarno-Hatta airport here on Monday.

"The decision was taken to ascertain the safety of all the aircraft," the ministry's director general of air transportation, Herry Bhakti Singayuda, said here on Tuesday replying a press questions about Monday's incident.

A Lion Air MD-90 skidded on the runway of Soekarno-Hatta airport after landing in heavy rain but none of its 165 passengers and crew members were injured in the incident.

Previously, on February 23, another Lion Air aircraft of the same type made an emergency landing at Hang Nadim airport in Batam after its front wheel failed to function. All passengers were safe but 30 percent of them suffered shock.

Herry said although nobody was killed in the two incidents the authorities considered it important to check all MD-90 planes because they had often been involved in accidents.

"The checks are to be done as an anticipatory effort to prevent the recurrence of incidents. It is also to be done to make sure that all of the planes are still airworthy. The decision on whether or not the planes are airworthy will be taken fairly and wisely after thorough investigations," he said.

He said the pilots that had flown the ill-fated planes meanwhile had been banned from flying any plane for a month pending the results of the investigation on the incidents by the National Committee for Transportation Safety (KNKT).

"If the results show human error they will be given a sanction," he said.

He said plane accidents could be caused by various factors but the main three of them were human, weather and technical factors. In view of that he said a thorough study had to be done to find out the real cause of the two incidents and this was the authority of the KNKT.

"Study was also needed to see if the planes have routinely been checked in line with aviation rules and the law," he said.

Herry said accidents could happen on any plane including the new one accidents. He said the government could not as yet tell if the MD-90 type could still be operated or not.

According to the ministry's data only Lion Air operated MD-90s totalling five units. "So, if they are all grounded it is hope it will not disrupt national seat capacity," he said.

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