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Indonesia grounds 737 Max 8s for inspection

Indonesia’s aviation regulator has ordered the grounding of 737 Max 8s operated by its airlines for thorough inspections of each of the aircraft.

The airworthiness inspections will start on 12 March and any aircraft found with defects will remain grounded until flight inspectors clear them, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) states.

In a statement on the evening of 11 March, Lion Air says it has grounded its 10 Max 8s in accordance with the order from the DGCA.

Lion was the operator of the Max 8 that crashed shortly after take-off on 29 October 2018 while operating flight JT610, killing all 189 passengers and crew on board.

Garuda Indonesia is the country's only other Max operator, with just one of the type in its fleet.

The SkyTeam carrier says it has carried out inspections on the aircraft's flight control, airspeed, altitude and stall management systems in the wake of the ET302 crash and found no faults. However, in accordance with the regulator's order, the jet will remain grounded until further notice.

The DGCA adds that it continues to communicate with the US Federal Aviation Administration on any further steps that are required to ensure the airworthiness of Max 8s.

On 11 March, the FAA said that it had not received enough evidence to order a grounding of the US-based fleet of 737 Max jets, and cautioned against linking the JT610 and ET302 crashes until more data from the latest accident can be analysed.

Globally, China is the only other jurisdiction to have ordered a grounding of the country’s 737 Max fleet, while Ethiopian Airlines, Cayman Airlines and South African carrier Comair have voluntarily grounded theirs.

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