Indonesian national carrier Garuda has requested to cancel an order for 49 Boeing 737 MAX 8 passenger jets following recent deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia involving the same type of aircraft, the company said Friday.
Garuda has sent a letter to Boeing requesting the cancellation, said Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan.
“Our passengers have low confidence in the aircraft since the accidents and avoided using the MAX 8,” he said, referring to the Lion Air crash on October 29 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.
Garuda currently has one Boeing 737 Max 8 jet in its fleet.
Ikhsan said a Boeing team was expected in Jakarta on March 28 to discuss the matter.
“It is possible that we’ll opt to order a different model of Boeing aircraft,” he said.
Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest budget airline, has 10 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
All Boeing 737 Max 8 planes operating in Indonesia have been grounded by the Transportation Ministry pending inspections.
A Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 plane plummeted into the sea 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta’s international airport on October 29, killing all 189 people on board.
A preliminary report on the accident released in November revealed that the pilots of the doomed flight tried to pull the aircraft back up repeatedly as the aircraft’s automatic nose-down manoeuvre was activated.
On March 10, a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed minutes after taking off, killing all 157 people on board.
Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said Sunday there were “clear similarities” between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash.