Indonesia's national airline seeking cancellation of multibillion-pound order for Boeing 737 Max 8 jets
Indonesia's national airline is seeking the cancellation of a multibillion-pound order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, citing a loss of confidence after two crashes in the past six months.
It is the first announcement of a cancellation since Boeing's new model aircraft were grounded following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
PT Garuda Indonesia, which ordered 50 Max 8 jets in 2014 and had received just one plane last year, sent a letter to Boeing last week requesting to cancel the order worth 4.9 billion dollars (£3.7 billion), the company's spokesman Ikhsan Rosan said.
The carrier has so far paid Boeing about £26 million (£19 million) for the order.
Garuda joined other airlines worldwide in grounding Max 8 jets after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight this month which killed all 157 people aboard.
It came less than five months after 189 people died in the October 29 crash of another Max 8, operated by Indonesian private airline Lion Air.
"Passengers always ask what type of plane they will fly as they have lost trust and confidence in the Max 8 jet," Mr Rosan said. "This would harm our business."
He said Garuda plans to meet Boeing representatives next week in Jakarta to discuss details of cancelling the order.
"We don't want to use Max jets ... but maybe will consider switching it with another Boeing model of plane."
He said Indonesian passengers are afraid to take flights using any Max model, whether it's the 8, 9 or 10 series.
A preliminary report from Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee in December stopped short of declaring a probable cause of the October crash.
Officials have provided scant details since then, saying they are still analysing data from a cockpit voice recorder that was only recovered from the sea in January.