The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Boeing woes spark painful memories for families of Indonesian crash victims

Medan, Indonesia – For Neuis Marfuah, the recent nearcatastrophe involving a 737 Max plane flown by Alaska Airlines brought back painful memories and anger. Her daughter, 23-year-old Vivian Hasna Afifa, was killed when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board. “How could this have happened? I can’t stop thinking about it,” Marfuah told Al Jazeera. On Thursday, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it had approved the Boeing 737 Max 9 to return to service after more than 170 of the aircraft were grounded on January 6, the day after a panel on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 blew out at 14,000 feet with 177 people on board. The FAA’s “exhaustive” review gave the watchdog the confidence to “proceed to the inspection and maintenance phase”, FAA administrator Mike Whitaker said in a statement that outlined “unacceptable” quality assurance issues. No one was killed or injured in the incident, but for Marfuah, the news of the near-disaster was hard to bear. “It should have been enough after the events in Indonesia and Ethiopia to decide to stop operating the Max 737 aircraft once and for all,” Marfuah said. Less than five months after the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Airport en route to Kenya, killing all 157 people on board. Following the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, a US congressional report found that Boeing operated a “culture of concealment” and that the 737 Max planes were “marred by technical design failures”, including issues with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). MCAS is a flight-stabilisation programme on newer 737 Max models that is designed to automatically stop a plane from going into a stall, although this was not clearly communicated to pilots flying the planes. On Lion Air Flight 610, a sensor on the outside of the plane malfunctioned and indicated that the nose of the plane was too high and that the aircraft was at risk of stalling, causing the MCAS to automatically force the plane down to avoid a potential stall and crash into the sea. MCAS also malfunctioned on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, prompting Boeing to make changes so that it now “operates in unusual flight conditions only and now relies on two sensors, activates only once and never overrides pilots’ ability to control the airplane”. After an investigation into the near-miss involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, the airline found that the panel that blew off had been removed, repaired and reattached by Boeing mechanics. Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said in an interview aired by NBC News on Wednesday that an in-house inspection found that “many” of the 737 Max 9 aircraft had loose bolts. “Really, an airplane exploded in mid-air in one section,” Dennis Tajer, spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association union and a 737 Max 8 pilot with more than three decades of experience, told Al Jazeera. “It was an explosive depressurisation of the plane, which is all-encompassing and terrifying. This has taken trust in Boeing and absolutely crushed it again.” In the three weeks since the Alaska Airlines incident, Boeing has lost nearly one-fifth of its market capitalisation. After a meeting with US senators on Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told reporters that the company does not “put airplanes in the air that we don’t have 100 percent confidence in”. Anton Sahadi, whose wife lost her two 24-year-old cousins, Riyan Aryandi and Ravi Andrian, on Lion Air Flight 610, described the latest incident involving the Boeing 737 Max incident as “saddening”. aljazeera

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.