By LAUREN MAINGOT
Indonesia’s national airline Garuda cancelled a $4.9 billion order of Boeing 737 Max 8 passenger jets after the model suffered two fatal crashes in less than five months.
This move follows a worldwide grounding of Max 8s in response to the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed all 157 people on board and Lion Air Flight 610, which killed all 189 people on board. Officials are investigating whether or not Boeing’s changes to the model’s flight control system played a role, according to CNN.
“Continuing the Max order does not benefit Garuda,” Garuda spokesperson, Ikhsan Rosan, told The New York Times. “Our passengers, psychologically, they don’t trust flying with Max anymore. They often asked during booking what type of aircraft they would be flying on.”
Garuda sent a letter to Boeing on March 14 requesting the withdrawal of their order, but acknowledges that it will be difficult to proceed since the agreement has already been signed. Garuda and Boeing executives plan to meet to discuss the cancellation request.
Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, said in a statement this week that the company is working to update its software and “taking actions to fully ensure the safety of the 737 Max.”
The resonating effects of the two Max 8 crashes have been covered across media platforms, including stories regarding the families of the victims, the investigation on the cause of the crashes, and the minimal training given to pilots before flying the model. Recent coverage by The New York Times also revealed how some of Boeing’s safety features on the Max 8 are sold only as extras.