Indonesia temporarily grounds Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners after Alaska Airlines incident



JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia has temporarily grounded three Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners, following an incident last week in which an Alaska Airlines plane suffered a blowout that left a gaping hole in the side of the fuselage.

The three aircraft, grounded since Saturday, belong to the Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air. The decision was made by the country’s Transportation Ministry in coordination with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ensure the safety and security of flight operations.

An emergency landing on Friday by the Alaska Airlines jetliner prompted U.S. federal authorities to ground some Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. The FAA grounded all Max 9s operated by Alaska and United and some flown by foreign airlines for inspection. The inspections are focused on plugs used to seal an area set aside for extra emergency doors that are not required on United and Alaska Max 9s.

The grounded Lion Air planes use a mid-cabin emergency exit door that is different than the one on the Alaska Airlines’ plane involved in the incident, said Adita Irawati, a Transportation Ministry spokesperson.

Danang Mandala Prihantoro, a spokesperson for Lion Air, said the airline “has taken preventive steps” by grounding the planes and is “carrying out further inspections on the mid-cabin emergency exit door.”

In 2019, Indonesia temporarily grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 jets to inspect their airworthiness after a Lion Air plane of that model crashed in October 2018, killing all 189 people on board.

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