MIAMI – Indonesia’s transport ministry lifted the ban on the Boeing 737 MAX, three years after Lion Air’s (JT) fatal crash with the type took place.

After a similarly fatal incident involving the type with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) in March 2019, aviation authorities around the world grounded the jet for months.

The decision for the plane’s return to Indonesia comes months after the type was allowed to fly again in the United States and Europe, and it follows the relaxation of grounding orders in Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Ethiopia.

The removal of the ban took effect immediately after officials assessed adjustments to the aircraft’s technology, according to a statement from the ministry.

Before flying the Boeing 737 MAX again, airlines must follow airworthiness directives and inspect their jets, according to the report, which also stated that the government itself would inspect the aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines takes delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo: PRNewsfoto/Boeing

“The Trauma Is Still There…”


A request for comment from JT, which operated ten of the 737 MAX jets before the ban, was not immediately returned.

Garuda Indonesia’s (GA) chief executive Irfan Setiaputra told Reuters that the airline has no intentions to restore the MAX to its fleet as it is focusing on debt restructuring instead.

The state-controlled airline, which had operated one 737 MAX before the ban, has said it plans to cut its fleet from 142 to 66 planes under the plan.

Anton Sahadi, a relative of one of the passengers on board the JT plane that crashed, urged the government to ensure proper management of the risks before returning the aircraft to service “so that no planes of this model will ever fall and kill people again,” adding that “the trauma is still there…”


Featured image: Boeing 737-9 from the MAX family. Photo: Boeing