FAA directive orders Boeing to inspect older 737 aircraft after Indonesia crash in January

Washington, May 16, 2021: As a result of the investigation into the January incident involving a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 that killed 62 people after it plunged into the Java Sea after less than a minute into the flight, US aviation regulator, FAA is ordering Boeing to inspect older generation 737 jets.

According to the FAA recommendations, all Boeing 737-300, -400 and -500 planes will need to be examined, a total of 143 aircraft. The report states that a failure of the “flap synchro wire” missed by the autothrottle computer, which manages the plane’s thrust, could result in loss of control of the airplane.

Meanwhile an independent interim report from Indonesian investigators in February said the doomed jet’s throttles showed an “anomaly,” though it said the cause of the crash was unclear. According to the FAA directive, “The preliminary data of the ongoing accident investigation shows that it is highly unlikely that the accident resulted from the latent failure of the flap synchro wire.”

But it said the inspection is “necessary to address the identified unsafe condition” that could be found in the planes, which were built in the 1980s and ’90s. More modern iterations of the Boeing 737, including the 737 MAX that was grounded for 20 months after two deadly crashes, were not affected by the inspection order.

In a public press statement, a company spokesperson said, “Boeing works to ensure that our airplanes are safe and meet all requirements. We are in constant communication with our customers and the FAA, and engaged in ongoing efforts to introduce safety and performance improvements across the fleet.”

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