Adam Air B737 Buckles on Landing; Fleet Grounded

Indonesia grounded seven Boeing 737-300s operated by budget airline Adam Air after the fuselage of one plane cracked during a hard landing, forcing a temporary airport closure, officials said Thursday.

The incident came weeks after an Adam Air plane plunged into the sea halfway through a two-hour flight, killing all 102 people aboard. The cause of the crash has not been determined.

Aviation authorities will examine all 737-300s owned by Adam Skyconnections Airlines - more than a third of its entire fleet - to determine whether they are air-worthy, said Bambang Istiono, an official at the Transport Ministry.

"We are going to check them for the sake of the safety of the country," Istiono said.

On Wednesday, an Adam Air plane made a hard landing in stormy weather at Indonesia's second-largest city, Surabaya, causing it to buckle in the middle. The aircraft was severely bent, its tail resting on the runway.

There were no serious injuries, but passengers said the plane came down with such force that baggage compartments burst open, sending luggage flying through the cabin.

Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx told The Associated Press in Seattle, Washington that the manufacturer would not "comment on any actions by the Indonesian government while they're investigating this accident."

Adam Air has had a series of incidents since it was founded in 2003, including a navigation and communications breakdown last year that caused a plane to go missing for several hours, before eventually making an emergency landing.

More than a dozen pilots have quit over safety concerns.

The latest incident led some lawmakers to call for a complete halt of Adam Air operations.

"It will be good for the company and the government ... until the flight authorities can determine if Adam Air is still worthy as national aircraft company," said Parliament member Abdul Hakim.

Adam Air has a fleet of 17 aircraft that fly to popular tourist destinations such as the resort island of Bali and the country's cultural hub of Yogyakarta, as well to Singapore and Malaysia.

It is one of dozens of privately held airlines that have emerged since Indonesia started deregulating the industry in the late 1990s, bringing cheap air travel to the sprawling island nation.


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