JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said on Monday an airspeed indicator of a Boeing Co. 737 MAX plane that crashed last week killing all 189 people on board was damaged for its last four flights.
The damage was revealed after data had been downloaded from the plane’s flight data recorder, KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters, adding that it was asking Boeing and US authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world.
“We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator,” he said, referring to the US National Transportation Safety Board.
It was not immediately clear whether the reported problem stemmed from a mechanical or maintenance issue, nor whether US authorities would order any checks.
“We don’t know yet where the problem lies, what repair has been done, what their reference books are, what components have been removed,” said Nurcahyo Utomo, the KNKT sub-committee head for air accidents.
“These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed.”
Safety experts say it is too early to determine the cause of the crash on Monday last week of the Lion Air flight from Jakarta to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
Authorities have yet to recover the jet’s cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, just northeast of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes into its flight.
Boeing declined to comment. The US manufacturer has delivered 219 737 MAX jets to customers globally, according to Boeing’s website, and it has 4,564 orders for jets that have yet to be delivered.
The Boeing 737 MAX is a more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s popular single-aisle jet.
The Lion Air crash was the first involving the type of plane, which airlines introduced into service last year.