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Friday, 22 March, 2019, 17 : 30 PM [IST]

Garuda Indonesia cancels order for 49 Boeing 737 Max jets

Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda Indonesia moved to cancel an order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following the deadly crashes involving two of the aircraft, a spokesman for the company said on Friday.

The decision comes less than two weeks after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard. A Lion Air flight, a low-cost Indonesian airline, crashed in October shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew.

Both crashes involved the 737 Max 8 model jet and have brought intense scrutiny to the US-based Boeing, which marketed the 737 Max 8 as a fuel efficient jet of the future, as well as the Federal Aviation Authority. Garuda Indonesia’s cancellation is believed to be the first scrapping of orders in reaction to the crashes.

Ikhsan Rosan, a spokesman for Garuda Indonesia, told The Washington Post the decision to cancel the orders was due to “consumers’ low confidence” in the airplanes following the crashes. The order was first announced in October 2014.

Rosan said airline officials told Boeing of its decision by letter and were scheduled to meet with representatives from Boeing to discuss the decision on March 28. A spokesman for Boeing said the company does not comment on discussions with customers.

“The discussion won’t be easy,” he said. Garuda Indonesia ordered 50 of the aircraft, Rosan said, one has been delivered, but was grounded after the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month. Garuda Indonesia has a fleet size of 144 aircraft, according to the company website. An additional 58 aircraft are operated by its low-cost carrier, Citilink.

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