Batavia Air 737 loses piece of wing in flight, lands safely

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Boeing 737-400 similar to the one involved in the incident.
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

A Batavia Air Boeing 737-400 has landed safely after a segment of wing up to two metres in size separated from the aircraft 15 minutes after takeoff on a domestic flight between Jakarta, Indonesia and Pontianak late on Wednesday night.

Batavia spokesman Anton Situmeang commented that the aircraft, which was carrying 138 passengers and six crew, could have continued to its destination without the part, but had returned for an emergency landing as a precaution. He went on to say that the plane's last major service was only a month or two ago, and consequently Batavia have launched their own independent investigation.

Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee senior investigator Frans Wenas told reporters that the missing part had been located close to the airport. News website is quoted by the International Herarld Tribune as saying that the piece struck a house, but there are no reports of injuries on the ground.

Deregulation of the Indonesian airline industry in the 1990s has resulted in the startup of many new budget carriers, including Batavia Air. However, industry analysists have raised concerns that deregulation has resulted in lax safety standards and poor industry supervision. Indonesia is now trying to address the concerns ahead of an EU review of the decision to add all Indonesian airlines to the list of air carriers banned in the EU.

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