Indonesia finds design flaw in 737 crash

Indonesian investigators have found that design and oversight lapses played a key role in the October 2018 crash of Boeing Co's 737 MAX jet that killed all 189 people aboard.

The draft conclusions, expected to be the first formal government-finding of flaws in the design and US regulatory approval, also identify a string of pilot errors and maintenance mistakes as causal factors of the Lion Air crash, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded since March in the aftermath of two fatal crashes in five months.

This includes the October 2018 plane which crashed into the Java Sea 12 minutes after take off, killing everyone on board, and the deaths of 157 people in Ethiopia on March 10.

A Boeing spokesman did not comment on the newspaper report, but said the plane maker continued to offer support to the investigating authorities as they complete their report.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesia's transport safety committee, told Reuters he could not comment before the release of the final report, which is expected by early November.

He said several stakeholders, but not all, had already provided feedback on a draft of the final report that has not been released publicly.

The draft was circulated to parties including Boeing, Lion Air and the US Federal Aviation Administration on August 24.

"There are stakeholders that have sent their answers to us and we are evaluating them," Tjahjono said.

US air crash investigators are readying to announce a handful of separate safety recommendations, from bolstering pilots' manual flying skills to boosting FAA vetting of new aircraft designs, the WSJ added.

Around month-end, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to call for improvements to cockpit training and crew decision-making and focus on potential changes to certification of new airliners, the newspaper said.

The NTSB declined to comment on the WSJ report, but said it planned to release recommendations on the FAA's certification program some time in September.

The FAA welcomed the scrutiny from safety experts and looked forward to their findings, it said in a statement.

"We continue to work with other international aviation safety regulators and will carefully consider all recommendations," it added.



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