Airline tragedies are jarring, rarely is a crash less than fatal for the crew and the passengers and this one is even more worrying being on a brand new aircraft. 189 passengers plus crew tragically died in the latest of a long line of Lion Air tragedies.
It’s time Indonesian authorities seriously looked at deep level investigations of this airline – if necessary with the help of foreign investigators. The trouble is national pride rules out the later and endemic corruption prevents the former. The time has come to get past both.
But lets take a look at the airlines dire past record, because it really has been a tale of tragedy.
The airline started in 2000, and was considered so dangerous it was banned from the EU area in 2007-2016 despite that having little relevance to the airline that didn’t fly there.
These days it operates 183 routes around Indonesia’s vast archipelago and its neighbours.
25 people died and another 100 were injured in 2004 when an aircraft skidded off a runway at Solo, in the centre of Java island. In a moment of black irony the aircraft crashed into a cemetery.
In 2013 the pilot failed to reach the runway, completely undershooting it and had to bring the aircraft down in the sea off the island of Bali, somehow all the passengers managed to swim to safety and nobody died.
April 2016 saw yet another incident with Batik Air a Lion subsidiary (one of 7 aircraft listed as damaged beyond repair by the airline over the years in various more ‘minor’ incidents), hit a TransNusa Airlines aircraft.
In May 2016 two more of Lion Air’s aircraft hit each other just as they were taking off from Sukarno-Hatta airport in the capital, Jakarta.
In 2017 Another 737-8 hit a WingsAir aircraft as it landed on Sumatra at Kualanamu Airport, but thankfully, nobody was hurt.
The latest disaster is Indonesia’s worst airline tragedy. Questions are urgently needing answers. The aircraft apparently asked to turn round 13 minutes out and that suggests a technical issue of some nature that caused the pilots urgent concern.
Lets all hope that the cause can be found quickly. In any event this is one airline whose reputation just seems to go from bad to worse.
The aircraft was PK-LKP Delivered on 13 August 2018 and leased from CMIG Aviation Leasing. Image is of sister PK-LOQ.