MILES KENT WRITES– 189 lives were lost Monday when a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after takeoff outside Jakarta. This tragedy comes amid a string of recent Asian air disasters and is especially painful in light of Indonesia’s history of air disasters.
In June of this year, the European Commission announced that it would be lifting the Air Safety ban, introduced in March 2006, on all Indonesian airlines. The ban had prohibited certain Indonesian planes from flying over European Union airspace due to poor safety records. This recent reversal, then, was a major victory for the island nation, as the rapidly growing middle class seeks faster and more reliable means of flight.
Given the recent boom in the Indonesian air travel industry, any revision to the ban prompted by the catastrophic Lion Air plane crash is speculated to hinder the country’s efforts to become a global leader in travel. Unfortunately, Bloomberg has already reported that Monday’s crash has rekindled safety concerns regarding the world’s fourth most populous country.
With a passenger base that jumped from 27,421,235 to 94,504,086 within the past five years, Indonesia’s air travel industry growth has been momentous. Boeing has sold hundreds of airplanes to both public and private companies throughout the archipelago.
This recent crash, however, has rattled the international community and raised questions about the safety standard of the newly released 737 MAX planes. In addition to Indonesia’s Lion Air, other airlines use the 737 MAX, including Air Canada, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines. Boeing’s stock has suffered heavy losses as investors have reacted to this tragedy—and of course this loss of 187 lives.
Reports of that the plane received maintenance late last week have surfaced, yet investigators will not rule that out as a cause until they have complete certainty. 80% of fatal plane crashes can be attributed to human error, a BBC article reported after a Lion Air plane crashed in 2013.
Unless we can fully control automated technology, the risk of air disasters will remain when it comes to this cheap and fast travel option.