Virgin Australia is reportedly waiting for the outcome of investigations into the cause of last week’s Lion Air crash, after ordering 30 of the same plane involved in the tragedy.
Aviation authorities have sent out an urgent warning addressing issues with the “angle of attack” sensor in the Boeing 737 Max 8 which is said to be intertwined with the cause of the fatal crash that killed 189 people.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the condition is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines regional carrier SilkAir, which is currently the only airline operating the aircraft in Australia, has confirmed it will stick to Boeing’s safety advice on the matter.
Indonesian investigators have revealed the doomed Lion Air plane had a crucial sensor replaced the day before it crashed into the sea killing all 189 people onboard.
Authorities said the “angle of attack” sensor, which helps the aircraft adjust the angle of its nose relative to the current of air to prevent stalling and diving, could have worsened existing problems with the plane.
Flight data retrieved from the aircraft showed airspeed indicator malfunctions on the jet’s last four flights, which Transport safety committee chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said would have been intertwined with the sensor issue.
“The point is that after the AOA [sensor] is replaced the problem is not solved, but the problem might even increase. Is this fatal? NTSC wants to explore this,” he said, according to the ABC.
Tjahjono said the airline’s first two attempts to fix problems with the sensor failed, so they replaced it on the aircraft’s second-last flight.
During the second-last flight, the plane went into a sudden dive minutes after take-off which the pilots were able to recover from.
Boeing has since provided Lion Air with draft procedure recommendations based on how the flight crew responded to the problems on the second last flight.
Human remains are still being recovered as the search continues for the cockpit voice recorder.
The search, which has been extended a second time, is expected to conclude on Sunday.
The flight was on its way from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka when it lost contact with air traffic control 13 minutes after takeoff, and crashed into the sea.
All 189 people on board were killed in what is being called the worst airline disaster in Indonesia in more than 20 years, sparking fresh concerns about the country’s fast-growing aviation industry which was only just removed from EU and US blacklists.