Indonesian airline Lion Air reported early Monday that a new Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) 737 MAX 8 aircraft with 189 people on board crashed just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta bound for Pangkal Pinang in the country’s tin-mining region. No survivors are expected to be found. The crash is the first for the latest generation of Boeing single-aisle planes.
According to Reuters, the flight JT 610 requested and was granted permission to return to the airport but the plane lost all contact with the ground shortly thereafter. Reuters noted the “Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record is patchy.”
Last April Lion Air ordered a total of 50 737 MAX 10s in an order valued at $6.24 billion at list prices. In all, Boeing’s order book lists 201 orders from Lion Air and 13 deliveries. The first delivery took place in May 2017. The plane that crashed Monday was delivered to the airline in August.
A Lion Air spokesman cited by Reuters said the aircraft was airworthy and that the pilot and co-pilot had together amassed 11,000 hours of flying time. The airline’s CEO, Edward Sirait, said that the aircraft had experienced a technical problem on a flight from Bali to Jakarta but that the issued had been “resolved according to procedure.”
Lion Air operated 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and said it has no plans to ground the remaining planes.
In a statement, Boeing said:
The Boeing Company is deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610. We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones.
Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation. In accordance with international protocol, all inquiries about aviation accident investigations must be directed to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC).
International protocol directs the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board to assist in the inquiry into the causes of the crash. Boeing, along with CFM International, the joint venture between GE and France’s Safran that built the engines for the plane, will provide technical assistance in the inquiry.
Reuters has produced a flight path map of crashed flight JT 610.