Friday, November 02, 2018

Lion Air: Official denies claims pilot had asked to turn doomed plane back on previous flight

An airport official in Bali has contradicted claims that the pilot of a Lion Air plane had asked to return to base on a previous flight the day before it crashed, killing 189 people on board.

Reuters news agency earlier quoted another pilot who claimed he was asked to hold off landing on Sunday because the Lion Air flight to Jakarta had technical problems and needed to return to Bali.

He reportedly told Reuters: "The Lion plane requested to return back to Bali five minutes after take-off, but then the pilot said the problem had been resolved and he was going to go ahead to Jakarta."

But Herson, chief of the airport authority for the Bali-Nusa Tenggara area, denied there was any request for the Lion Air plane to return to base.
The sadness in the Lion Air crash is that no-one would really be shocked by it — the Indonesian aviation sector has a bad reputation for good reason, writes former Indonesian correspondent Samantha Hawley.
He told the ABC there were technical problems that were later dealt with in Jakarta, when the plane landed on Sunday night. But at no time did the Lion Air pilot seek permission to return to Bali.

Air Navigation officials in Jakarta said the Lion Air pilot requested a change of altitude and asked for a "priority landing" in Jakarta, because of technical problems. In response they said they prepared "Runway 25" in Jakarta for the plane to land.

But they too said there was no request for the plane to return to Bali, nor were any planes in Bali asked to stay in a holding pattern. Instead, planes were asked to circle in Jakarta until the plane landed.
02/11/18 Anne Barker and wires/News

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