Sriwijaya Air crash places Indonesia’s aviation safety under fresh spotlight

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The crash of the Sriwijaya flight, operated by a Boeing Co 737-500, follows the loss of a Lion Air 737 MAX in October 2018, which contributed to a global grounding of the model.The Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people, was an outlier in that it mainly revealed fundamental issues with the plane model and triggered a worldwide safety crisis for Boeing. Even excluding the deaths from that crash, Indonesia would rank above Russia if there are no survivors from Saturday's crash.Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, is highly dependent on air travel and its safety issues illustrate the challenge relatively new carriers face as they try to keep pace with unstoppable demand for air travel in developing nations while striving for standards that mature markets took decades to reach.From 2007 to 2018, the European Union banned Indonesian airlines following a series of crashes and reports of deteriorating oversight and maintenance. The United States lowered its Indonesia safety evaluation to Category 2, meaning its regulatory system was inadequate, between 2007 and 2016.Indonesia's air safety record has improved in recent years, receiving a favourable evaluation by the United Nations aviation agency in 2018. But in a country with a large more...