The crash of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 on Saturday afternoon is another blight on Indonesia’s already poor aviation safety record.
The country has had several incidents linked to safety issues in the past, including poor maintenance, pilot training, communications or mechanical failures and air-traffic control problems. It’s the worst place in Asia to take an airplane, with 104 accidents and 2,353 related fatalities, data from Aviation Safety Network show. What sent Flight SJ182 hurtling into the Java Sea shortly after take off isn’t yet clear and likely won’t be until the plane’s black box is retrieved and examined. But two things are known — the jet was flying in heavy rain and the Boeing Co. model was almost 27 years old.
It belonged to the airline manufacturer’s family of 737 jets, one of the most successful aircraft of all time. The make first began flying in 1967 and has been through several iterations. The Sriwijaya Air jet in question was a 737-500, part of Boeing’s Classic series that also includes the 737-300 and the 737-400. The 737 Max series was introduced later in 2017, and that was the version involved in two fatal crashes: Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019.