News / Asia

Indonesia's Lion Air Crash Report Finds Procedure Review Needed

  • A Lion Air plane is seen in the water after it missed the runway in Denpasar, Bali in this picture provided by the Indonesian police, Apr. 13, 2013.
  • A passenger of a Lion Air plane that missed the runway at Bali's international airport receives treatment at Kasih Ibu hospital near Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 13, 2013.
  • A passenger of the Lion Air plane arrives for a treatment at Kasih Ibu hospital near Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 13, 2013.
  • The wreckage of a Lion Air Boeing 737 -800 airplane is seen in the water near Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Apr. 14, 2013.
  • A rescue team swims beside the wreckage of a Lion Air plane near Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 15, 2013.
  • The pilot whose Indonesian jet slumped into the sea while trying to land in Bali describes how he felt it "dragged" down by wind while he struggled to regain control, a person familiar with the matter said, Apr. 15, 2013.
  • Members of a rescue team walk on a breakwater near the wreckage of a Lion Air plane near Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 15, 2013.
Reuters
Investigators have raised questions over training and cockpit procedures at Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air after a preliminary report into a crash last month off Bali found the captain was not at the controls at a “critical time”.
    
The National Transportation Safety Committee said in a report that Lion Air should immediately review or reinforce a number of safety measures related to landing procedures carried out by pilots.
    
However, it did not say how it had arrived at the preliminary conclusions from a sample of evidence compiled from “black box” flight data and cockpit voice recordings.
    
All 108 passengers and crew survived when the passenger jet undershot the tourist island's main airport runway and belly-flopped into the water.
    
The report, released late on Tuesday, did not give an exact cause of the crash, but ruled out any major problems with the almost brand-new Boeing 737-800 passenger jet.
    
Weather reports indicated that there was a sudden loss of visibility in the area, it said, adding the second-in-command was in charge seconds before the plane crashed into the sea just before the runway.
    
Lion Air's co-founder Rusdi Kirana said he would respect the outcome of the investigation, but voiced dismay at the interim recommendations which were directed solely at the airline.
    
“If our pilots make mistakes we are not scared to admit it, but we are not happy just blaming the pilots without proof,” he told Reuters. “It is important not to give people the impression that we don't have proper procedures. We take safety seriously, we are a profitable airline and we are not going to limit our budget on training and maintenance.”
    
The cause of the crash has potential implications for the reputation of one of the world's fastest-growing airlines, which is fighting to be removed from a European Union safety blacklist even as it buys record volumes of Airbus and Boeing jets.
    
Indonesia has also failed the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards for aircraft operations and maintenance, and as a result American regulators have imposed restrictions on them starting or increasing flights to the United States.
    
Critical time
  
The preliminary report said that the 24-year-old second-in-command, who had 1,200 hours of flying experience, was in control during the descent into the airport and reported that he could not see the runway 900 feet above ground.
    
The captain switched off the auto-pilot and the second-in-command handed over controls to him at 150 feet - or 1 minute, 6 seconds before the crash - after saying he again could not see the runway.
    
One second before the crash and with 20 feet separating the aircraft and the water, the pilot commanded a “go-around” and attempted to abort the landing, but the plane hit the water.
    
The report recommended Lion Air “review the policy and procedures regarding the risk associated with changeover of control at critical altitudes or critical time.”
    
It added the fast-growing airline should also “ensure the pilots are properly trained” on this subject.
    
The airline said standard aviation practice allowed pilots to change control at any time at the crew's discretion.
    
It defended its standard procedures for aborting a landing and said these had last been reviewed in March last year.
    
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters last month that the pilot had described how he felt the 737-800 passenger jet being “dragged” down by wind while he struggled to regain control.
    
The NTSC report said that the navigational aids and approach guidance facilities such as the runway lights at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport were all “functioning properly” at the time of the crash.
    
It did not address whether these facilities should include an Instrument Landing System (ILS).
    
Industry experts say such a feature is common at airports worldwide to help pilots keep to the right descent path. Bali does not have an ILS for planes landing from the West.
    
The report also did not address whether the jet may have been subject to wind shear or dangerous gusts of wind. Airport officials have told Reuters some of the airports at Asia's best known holiday spots do not have wind shear detectors.
    
The NTSC said it expected to release its final report within the next 12 months.
    
Founded by two brothers and travel entrepreneurs, Lion Air has been growing at a record pace to keep up with one of the region's star economies. Earlier this year, it signed a deal with Europe's Airbus for 234 passenger jets worth $24 billion. Two years ago, it signed a deal with Boeing for 230 planes.
    
At the same time, however, Indonesia has been struggling to improve its civil air safety after a string of deadly accidents.
    
In 2007, Lion Air was among a number of Indonesian airlines banned by the EU for lax safety standards.
    
The ban was progressively lifted, starting in 2009, but although it has had one fatal accident, Lion Air remains on the EU's banned list - a predicament it has dismissed as unfair.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid