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Lion Air Group considers MAX order cancellation

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December 14th 2018

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Indonesia’s Lion Group is threatening to cancel its orders for more than 200 Boeing 737 MAXs. The Group’s co-founder, Rusdi Kirana, said he felt “betrayed” by Boeing after the U.S. OEM pointed fingers at the airline in the preliminary report into the Lion Air MAX 8 crash off the coast of Jakarta in October. Read More »

“I feel betrayed. I'm preparing documents to propose cancellations. Everything is still under consideration now,” Kirana told Bloomberg this week. "Ethically, nobody should give their opinion to the preliminary report. I'm one of their biggest buyers. Right now we are in a difficult situation. As a partner, they should have helped, not given a negative impression on us," Kirana said.

Lion Group is the fourth-largest customer of the MAX series, following Southwest Airlines, flydubai and Jet Airways. The Jakarta-headquartered airline group has outstanding orders for more than 230 MAX jets, comprising approximately 180 MAX 8 and MAX 9s, as well as 50 MAX 10s.

The group’s Malaysian subsidiary, Malindo Air, was the launch customer for the MAX 8 and its Thai affiliate, Thai Lion Air, was the first airline to take delivery of the larger MAX 9. Lion Group was also designated the potential MAX 10 launch carrier at the 2017 Paris Air Show.

The Lion Group presently operates approximately 190 B737NG and MAX variants across its Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai subsidiaries. In 2013, it ordered 234 A320 Family jets for delivery from 2019 to 2026.

Following the fatal crash that killed all 189 passengers and crew, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive to owners and operators of Boeing B737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft.

The emergency ruling was prompted “by analysis performed by the manufacturer showing that if an erroneously high single angle of attack (AOA) sensor input is received by the flight control system, there is a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer. This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss and possible impact with terrain”, the FAA said.

The directive requires MAX owners and operators to revise the operating procedures of the airplane flight manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew with runaway horizontal stabilizer trim procedures to follow under certain conditions.

The FAA order was based on preliminary findings from the Indonesian investigation into the October 29 crash of a Lion Air MAX 8 off the coast of Java.

Boeing published a detailed response to the preliminary report. The U.S. manufacturer reiterated most key points from the report, but also pointed to certain MRO deficiencies at Lion Air, including a lack of information and transparency regarding the installation, maintenance and calibration of the crashed MAX 8’s AOA sensor.

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