Indonesia's Lion Air is reviewing orders of airplanes from Boeing and has not ruled out cancelling orders as relations worsen in a spat over responsibility for a 737 jetliner crash that killed 189 people in late October.
Co-founder Rusdi Kirana is furious over what he regards as attempts by Boeing to deflect attention from recent design changes and blame Lion Air for the crash, while the airline faces scrutiny over its maintenance and flight crew actions.
Kirana is examining the possibility of cancelling remaining orders of Boeing jets, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Another source close to the airline said it was looking at cancelling orders. Lion Air has 190 Boeings on order.
No final decision has been made, but discussion over the fate of $22 billion of remaining orders highlights the stakes surrounding an investigation involving Boeing’s fastest-ever selling jet, the 737 MAX, which entered service last year.
Any request to cancel could be designed to put pressure on Boeing and would likely trigger extensive negotiations. Many airlines defer orders, but industry sources say aerospace suppliers rarely allow much scope for unilateral cancellations.
Lion Air declined to comment. A Boeing spokesman said: "We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, and are working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved. We are also supporting our valued customer through this very tough time."
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