Govt Grounds all McDonnell Douglas MD-90s

JAKARTA ~ The authorities grounded this week all McDonnell Douglas MD-90 passenger jets operating in the country after two accidents in two weeks, a senior official said.

“Starting from today we have temporarily grounded all MD-90 jets as there have been two accidents in a very short time involving this type of plane,” air transportation director Herry Bakti said.

“This is very important to prevent any similar accidents from happening in the future.”

An MD-90 with 156 people on board was forced to land without its front gear late February and another with 168 passengers skidded off the runway on Monday after landing in heavy rain at Jakarta’s main airport.

No one was injured in the accidents, which involved aircraft operated by budget domestic airline Lion Air.

Lion Air is the only airline using MD-90s in Indonesia.

“We will investigate all maintenance and operation procedures related to these planes,” Bakti said.

He said the probe could take up to a week.

Indonesia is trying to prove it has done enough to fix its air safety record and remove a European Union ban on Indonesian airliners flying through EU air space.

Twenty-six people were killed when a Lion Air MD-82 plane skidded off a runway in the central Java city of Solo in 2004.

The airline, which serves various Indonesian destinations and some regional capitals, has also had several near-misses in its 10-year history.

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