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Lion Air Feeling Unappreciated by Boeing

Lion Air CEO Tells Boeing to Stop Treating Him Like their Piggy Bank

The CEO of The Lion Air Group, Rusdi Kirana, has publicly criticized the U.S. Boeing Corporation for their poor follow-up and actions in connection with the fatal crash of flight JT 610 – a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Indonesia in October 2018.

As reported by Kompas.com, Rusdi accused Boeing of treating him like a “piggy bank.” Kirana’s comments were made following Boeing’s decision to depict the crash of the Lion Air Boeing 737-MAX in a different manner than the hauntingly similar March 10, 2019 crash of the same type of aircraft by Ethiopian Airlines.

Rusdi Kirana said: “Boeing views my airline and my Country (Indonesia) in a negative way although we have treated them very well. They also have a poor opinion of me, treating me like their piggy bank.”

In December 2018, Lion Air threatened to cancel the largest single order of aircraft made in Boeing’s history. Rusdi says Boeing was inconsistent in how it handled the crash of two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. “They laid blame (on us) for the first crash and apologized (to Ethiopian Airlines) for the second,” complained Rusdi.

Boeing, following the crash of Lion Air JT610 in October 2018, issued statements laying the blame for the crash on pilot error. At the same time, Boeing also chose to discuss new "phantom issues" in connection with the crash, including aircraft maintenance.

Rusdi commented that with the crash of the Ethiopian Airline Boeing 737-MAX,  the American aircraft manufacturer finally issued apologies and declared they were reviewing anti-stall software that may have triggered the both crashes Rusdi added that the apology to Ethiopian Airline was made in the midst of an avalanche of criticism from countries demanding the Boeing 737-MAX be removed from service.

Only on Tuesday, March 30, 2019, did Boeing President, Dennis Muilenburg, apologized in connection with the crash of the Lion Air flight that occured in the previous October, Muilenburg said: “"We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents. These tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, and we extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302."

Possibly seen by Kirana as an afterthought, Muilenberg then offered a belated affirmation, valuing Lion Air as an important commercial partner of Boeing.

Lion Air placed the single largest order for new aircraft from Boeing put at a total value of Rp. 308 trillion. 7-Boeing 737 Max were scheduled for delivery in 2019 followed by 24 more in 2020, and 35 more in 2021. To date, 11-Boeing 737-Max have been delivered to Lion Air, including the one unit that was destroyed in the October 28, 2018 crash.