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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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