The founder of Lion Air, Rusdi Kirana, has lashed out at Boeing according to a Reuters interview. Mr Kirana claimed that the airline was a “piggy bank” for Boeing, while criticising Boeing’s initial response to last year’s 737 MAX crash.
Lion Air is one of Asia’s largest low-cost carriers, having achieved this status in part through extensive Boeing aircraft orders. The carrier was struck by disaster when one of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft plunged to the ground minutes after takeoff. The accident resulted in the loss of all lives onboard. Additionally, another similar accident affected Ethiopian Airlines in March.
201 MAX orders
Lion Air is one of Boeing’s largest single customers for the 737 MAX. The airline has placed an order for 201 MAX aircraft divided between three models. While 87 of these do not have a known variant, the remainder does. 100 will be the 737 MAX-10, four will be the 737 MAX-9, and ten will be the 737 MAX-8.
At present, the airline is not expecting any MAX-7 aircraft. As of the end of February, the airline had received 14 737 MAX aircraft. Along with its subsidiary, Thai Lion Air, the low cost carrier currently operates 131 Boeing 737-800 and -900 aircraft.
Angry at Boeing
It appears that Lion Air is not currently happy with the way Boeing has treated them. One of the reasons is that Boeing initially pointed to pilot error as the main cause of the 737 MAX crash of October. This would later be shown to be caused by a design flaw in the MCAS system whose job it is to pitch the nose down in the event of a potential stall.
Additionally, the airline’s founder claimed that he was Boeing’s “piggy bank” while telling Reuters: “They look down on my airline and my country even though relations are always handled in a proper way. They treat us as Third World.” Mr Kirana finally went on to add that “They look at me as their piggy bank,”
Boeing responded, telling Reuters that the carrier “remain highly valued partners to Boeing”.
Will Lion Air keep their order?
Lion Air has previously threatened to cancel their Boeing 737 MAX order. This threat was made in December in the aftermath of the Lion Air crash. However, the airline isn’t the only carrier unhappy with their Boeing order.
So far 50 737 MAX deliveries have been cancelled in the wake of the aircraft’s global grounding. 49 of these aircraft were set to be delivered to Garuda Indonesia. The remaining aircraft was due to be delivered to Samoa Airways from Air Lease Corporation.
Do you think Boeing is abusing Lion Air? Do you think Lion will keep their 737 MAX order? Let us know in the comments down below!