The accident that downed Lion Air Flight JT 610, which plummeted into the Java Sea a mere 13 minutes after takeoff, is hardly the first accident the budget airline has been involved with, though it is the most deadly. All 189 passengers, crew and pilots are believed to have died in the crash which took place on Monday morning, October 29.
The cause of the crash is still unknown, and investigators are working hard to find the plane’s wreckage.
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To date, there have been at least 15 safety incidents involving Lion Air since 2002.
Lion Air, the largest domestic carrier in Indonesia, started operating in 2000. In the beginning, its flights catered primarily to travelers in South East Asia, but the airline has since expanded. Seven years ago, Lion Air ordered $22 billion dollars worth of Boeing planes, and earlier this year, announced that it was buying fifty Boeing 737 MAX 10 narrow-body jets to the tune of $6.24 billion, including the plane the crashed last Monday.
However, the company has had a history of questionable operational management and safety measures and was actually banned from Europe and the United States from 2007 to 2016 because of these safety issues.
While the airline has not been banned from flying in any airspace after the crash last Monday, Australian government officials and contractors have warned against flying with Lion Air until the investigation is over.
The plane itself, while it had only flown 800 hours, had reported technical issues on Sunday, one day before the fatal flight, wherein the captain handed over controls to the first officer.
Here are the other safety incidents involving Lion Air:
January 2002—A Lion Air flight failed to become airborne at takeoff in Pekanbaru, and it ended up skidding off the runway to hit some trees. No one was hurt in the incident, but the plane sustained heavy damages.
November 2004—A Lion Air flight from Jakarta to Surabaya also skidded off the runway, this time amidst heavy rains. The plane crashed into a fence. 25 people on board, including the captain, died in the accident.
March 2006—A Lion Air flight from Bali to Surabaya crashed while landing. One of the planes’ engine thrust reversers had been noted to be non-non-operation before the flight took off. No one died in the incident, but the plane was damaged beyond repair.
December 2006—Later that year another Lion Air flight, also from Jakarta, crash-landed due to an incorrect flap configuration. No fatalities, but the plane could no longer be used after it sustained heavy damages.
February 2009—A Lion Air flight to Batam landed with broken nose gear. There were no injuries to those on board.
March 2009—A Lion Air from Jakarta overshot the runway when it landed. While everyone on board had to get out using a door escape slide, nobody was hurt.November 2010—A Lion Air from Jakarta to Pontianak overshot the runway when it landed, injuring a few of the people on board.
April 2013— A Lion Air flight from Bandung to Bali missed the runway while landing and ended up in the sea. The fuselage of the plane broke in two, however, everyone on board was rescued and brought to safety.
August 2013— A Lion Air flight went off the runway in Sulawesi while it was landing and ended up hitting a cow. No injuries were sustained.
August 2013— A Lion Air flight to Surabaya bounced as it landed, injuring some passengers, two of them seriously.
February 2016—A Lion Air flight overshot the runway when it tried to land in Surabaya. Because of this incident, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee recommended further training for pilots.
April 2017—A Lion Air plane leaked 300 liters fuel on the tarmac at Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport. The plane was then grounded and passengers evacuated.
August 2017—A Lion Air fight collided with a Wings Air flight at Medan’s Kualanamu International airport. As the Wings fight was getting ready for takeoff and the Lion Air flight just landed. No injuries were reported.
April 2018—a Lion Air flight was forced to evacuate after a runway excursion. No fatalities were reported.
The incident on Monday is the 15th safety accident of Lion Air.