Indonesia Plane Crash Adds to Country’s Troubling Safety Record

Indonesia Plane Crash Adds to Country’s Troubling Safety Record

“I don’t really understand about airplane engines,” she said, “but I have never experienced this kind of thing before.”

Soerjanto Thanjono, the chief of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, said at a news briefing on Monday that the weather had been sunny and clear.

After the plane took off, the wind speed was only five knots between the altitudes of 10,000 and 24,000 feet, said Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics.

Lion Air said in a statement on Monday that the captain of the flight, Capt. Bhavye Suneja, an Indian citizen, had more than 6,000 flying hours and that the co-pilot, who goes by the single name of Harvino, had more than 5,000 flying hours.

Air travel is an especially convenient way to move around Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 13,000 islands and the world’s fourth most populous.

Passenger traffic in the country tripled from 2005 to 2017, to nearly 97 million, according to the CAPA-Center for Aviation, a consultancy based in Australia. As of last year, Lion Air, a budget carrier, controlled 51 percent of the domestic market.

But along with that rapid growth, which has made Indonesia the world’s fifth largest domestic aviation market, the country’s airline industry has had a troubled safety record.

Monday’s crash was the latest of at least 15 episodes involving Lion Air since it began operations in 2000. On Monday, the Australian government ordered its officials and contractors to avoid Lion Air, at least until the cause of the latest crash was established.

In 2016, the United States Federal Aviation Administration restored Indonesia to a Category 1 safety rating, nearly a decade after lowering it to Category 2. The latter category indicates that a country lacks either laws that allow it to comply with minimum international standards, or technical expertise, trained personnel or various other procedures.

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