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Jakarta suspends Lion Air's technical director

Indonesian transport minister Budi Karya Sumadi has ordered the temporary suspension of Lion Air technical director Muhammad Asif, following the fatal crash of one of its Boeing 737 Max 8 jets on 29 October.

In addition to the director's suspension, he also ordered the airline to suspend an unspecified number of engineers who gave the jet clearance to operate.

Media reports quote Sumadi as saying that the suspensions will facilitate the National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) investigation into the crash, in which all 189 aboard were killed.

Following the accident, the transport ministry plans to conduct intensive ramp checks to at least 40% of Lion's in-service fleet, as compared with 10-15% for other Indonesian airlines.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Lion Air operates 112 aircraft: three Airbus A330-300s, and 109 Boeing 737s. This suggests that up to 45 of Lion's in-service jets will undergo the intensive ramp checks.

Sanctions and penalties could also be imposed on Lion Air, depending on the outcome of NTSC's investigation.

"The transport ministry is waiting for the investigation results done by NTSC. If there's evidence of neglect by the airline, we will impose sanctions in line with the law," says Sumadi.

Lion has named Muhammad Rusli as its acting technical director until further notice.

The Lion Air 737 registered PK-LQP was operating as flight JT610 on the Jakarta-Pangkal Pinang route, where it took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International airport at 06.20 before losing contact 13 minutes later. It crashed into the sea near the town of Karawang in the province of West Java.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the aircraft was delivered on 13 August 2018, and bears serial number 43000. It is equipped with 180 seats, and managed by CMIG Leasing.

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