As people in New York sat in rush-hour traffic, nearly 200 people were involved in a fatal incident on the other side of the world: the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 as it began its morning flight from Jakarta. The brand-new plane went down off the coast of the Indonesian island of Java, presumedly killing everyone on board.
Early analyses do not indicate any fault in the experience or performance of the Lion Air flight crew. Similarly, the weather over Java does not seem to have been a contributing factor to the failure of flight JT 610.
The aircraft was about two months old and had only 800 hours of flight time. It began flying in August 2018.
This fatal incident follows a grounding by Boeing of all 737 MAX 8s due to a suspected manufacturing defect. The plane involved in the crash experienced delays leaving Bali preceding the crash. It is unclear whether either of these issues contributed to the failure.
Advocates of Lion Air only recently succeeding in lifting a ban on travel to European airports. The lifting of the ban coincided with a large order of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes in 2017. This was the first crash involving this model of aircraft, which is quickly becoming one of the aeronautical engineering giant's best-selling products.
This model of plane is very popular in Asia, where low-cost airlines are experiencing a burgeoning demand. Southwest Airlines in the USA is also a major customer. Since these new aircraft designs are critical to Boeing's civilian enterprises, the company is likely to commit considerable resources to the legal defense of relevant engineering and manufacturing processes.
Experienced representation and extensive knowledge of aviation law would probably be necessary to pursue a case against the aviation industry leader under the best circumstances. The need for diligence and attention to detail would be even more pressing when one of the latest models was involved.
Source: Bloomberg, "The Mystery of the New Boeing Jet That Plunged Into the Sea, Killing 189," Julie Johnsson, Alan Levin and Yoga Rusmana. October 30, 2018.