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Families of 737 Max crash victims say it’s too soon for the plane to fly again

An Indonesian transportation ministry spokesman says Indonesia will allow the Boeing 737 Max to fly again after FAA certification.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
A Boeing 737 Max 9 built for Aeromexico takes off from Renton Municipal Airport in Washington, Nov 18. Photo: AP
A Boeing 737 Max 9 built for Aeromexico takes off from Renton Municipal Airport in Washington, Nov 18. Photo: AP

Families of the victims of the fatal Boeing 737 Max crash in Indonesia have condemned the decision by US aviation authorities to allow the planes to fly and carry passengers again.

They say the move comes too soon after the Indonesian Lion Air 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 on board.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday lifted a worldwide flight ban on Boeing’s 737 Max imposed after fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people within five months in 2018 and 2019. After the crashes, the FAA was accused of lax oversight in certifying the Boeing jet when it first carried passengers.

“The US authorities shouldn’t have lifted the grounding order this quickly,” Aris Sugiono, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the crash told Reuters. “They must consider the feelings of the victim’s families.”

Anton Sahadi lost two young relatives on the fatal flight. “It wasn’t just the Lion Air flight, but also the victims in Ethiopia whose families haven’t recovered yet,” he said.

Families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash victims said in a statement they felt “sheer disappointment and renewed grief” after the FAA’s decision.

Naoise Ryan’s 39-year-old husband was killed in the crash. “Our family was broken,” she said.

Surviving family members are saying that they are still waiting for compensation. “Why has the flight permit been granted while the affairs of the victims’ families have not been resolved?” asked Latief Nurbana, a civil servant who lost his 24-year-old son.

He said compensation payments from the Boeing Community Investment Fund (BCIF) were still unsettled. The BCIF’s website said that the distribution of funds to provide support to communities affected by the crashes would be completed by Jan 15, 2021.

Adita Irawati, an Indonesian transportation ministry spokesman, said Indonesia would allow the Boeing 737 Max to fly once the FAA issued airworthiness directives.

Grieving relative Sahadi said profit should not guide an impatience to get the plane back in the air. “This means they don’t prioritise safety, considering there have been fatal mistakes that led to these two airlines having terrible accidents.”

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