Updated: Sep 18
As a country composed of islands, Indonesia relies heavily on air travel as its primary means of national transportation. But with safety precautions lacking in the country’s air industry, the U.S. and Europe have banned certain Indonesian flights. The high frequency of crashes in Indonesia has validated these concerns from Western nations. Most recently, on January 9th, a Boeing plane plummeted into the Java Sea near Jakarta, Indonesia. This tragedy has devastated both the Boeing company and the country.
The plane, which carried 62 passengers, was a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500. It was introduced in 1987 by Southwest Airlines for lightly traveled routes, but it has become less relevant over the last couple of decades. The 737-500 is not the same as the 737-Max, which was grounded after its anti-stall system caused crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. In fact, 737-500s are regarded as safe planes, which made the Jakarta crash a shock to Boeing employees.
The flight took off for Pontianak, Borneo, in a monsoon following a delay. Only four minutes after take-off, the plane plunged ten thousand feet in under a minute, diving into the Java Sea and killing all on board. The cause of the crash had not yet been determined when this article was written.
News of another tragedy involving one of its planes could be catastrophic for Boeing, having already lost $18 billion from having to ground the 737-Max. Subsequently, the pandemic hit, causing further financial damage to the whole air industry. Now, just as the Max has begun to fly again, Boeing faces another potentially disastrous PR crisis that could tarnish its name anew.
Needless to say, the crash has also devastated the local community in Indonesia. Police found body parts and clothes in the water following the crash. Families prayed that their loved ones had somehow lived, but from the outset, prospects of survivors seemed grim.