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Indonesia permanently closes airspace to Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft

Indonesia has permanently banned all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from serving in its airspace, Indonesian Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said on March 18.

He said that the ban has taken effect since March 15 based on the evaluation on the existing Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by national airlines and the notice of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia have agreed to ground operation of their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the official said.

Earlier, the ministry issued a temporary ban, ordering all related aviation agencies to examine Boeing 737 Max 8 planes to ensure flight safety, and authorised inspectors would grant permission for those aircraft which are declared fit to serve.

The Indonesian Government’s decision was made following the fatal crashes of Ethiopian Airlines’ plane on March 10, and Lion Air’s plane five months earlier.

There are clear similarities between the two crashes. Both involved the same model of plane - Boeing 737 Max 8, both pilots reported flight control issues and both planes crashed shortly after takeoff.