Indonesia’s Garuda cancelling 49 Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane orders after crashes

JAKARTA, Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda is cancelling a multi-billion-dollar order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after two fatal crashes involving the plane, the company said, in what is thought to be the first formal cancellation for the model.

We have sent a letter to Boeing requesting that the order be cancelled, said Garuda spokesman IkhsanRosan.

Garuda passengers in Indonesia have lost trust and no longer have the confidence in the plane, he said, adding that the airline was awaiting a response from Boeing.

Garuda had already received one of the 737 MAX 8 planes, he said, part of a 50-plane order worth US$4.9 billion at list prices when it was announced in 2014.

Garuda is also talking to Boeing about whether or not to return the plane it has received, the spokesman said.

The carrier had so far paid Boeing about US$26 million, while Garuda’s chief told Indonesian media outlet Detik that it would consider switching to a new version of the single-aisle jet.

In principle, it’s not that we want to replace Boeing, but maybe we will replace (these planes) with another model, Garuda Indonesia director I GustiNgurahAskharaDanadiputra told Detik.

This month, Indonesia’s Lion Air said it was postponing taking delivery of four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 went downminutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.

That came after a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia in October, killing all 189 people on board.