TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said Boeing 737 MAX 8s remain banned so that these aircraft could not yet be operated for carrying passengers during the Eid al-Fitr holiday season.
"Boeing 737 MAX 8s are not allowed to fly, even though there will be the peak of commercial flights ahead of and after the Eid al-Fitr holiday season," he told journalists in Tangerang, Banten Province, on Sunday.
The airline companies had been instructed not to operate their Boeing 737 MAX 8s before, during, and after Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festivity that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, he revealed.
The ban remains valid until a final investigation into this aircraft has been completed, he said, adding that the ban was issued for safety reasons.
Indonesia had officially sought further advice from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on thorough inspections of Boeing 737 MAX 8s following an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on March 10, 2019, killing all 157 on board.
"We had sent a letter on March 12, seeking the FAA's advice because Indonesia is one of the countries having many Boeing 737 MAX-8s," the Transportation Ministry's Air Transportation Director Genera, Polana B. Pramesti, stated in March.
The FAA's immediate reply was increasingly important for Indonesia, and it will serve as a reference for conducting checks of the Boeing 737 MAX 8s since a similar aircraft operated by Indonesia's Lion Air had also crashed in October 2018, she pointed out.
A day after a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane of Ethiopian Airlines crashed six minutes after takeoff during its flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Sunday (March 10), the Indonesian Transportation Ministry had temporarily grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8s in the country.
Pramesti noted that as the operating mode of the US Transportation Department, the FAA's reply to Indonesia's letter will be highly valuable in order to ensure continued maintenance of passenger safety and security.