Indonesian airline Garuda has canceled its order for 49 more Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, worth nearly $5 billion, citing "consumers' low confidence," a spokesman for the company said Friday. But a Garuda official said the airline may be open to acquiring another Boeing model instead to salvage the deal.
The move follows deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia involving two of the aircraft model.
“We have sent a letter to Boeing requesting that the order be canceled," Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told Agence France-Presse. “The reason is that Garuda passengers in Indonesia have lost trust and no longer have the confidence” in the plane.
On March 12, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Max 8 jet crashed soon after takeoff near Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people aboard. Five months earlier, the same model of aircraft used by Lion Air crashed, killing all 189 aboard.
The Garuda order of 50 jets was first announced in October 2014, the Washington Post reported.
Garuda has already received one of the planes, AFP reported. The company is talking to Boeing about whether to return the aircraft, the report said.
The carrier has paid Boeing $26 million so far, and would consider switching to a new version of the single-aisle jet, a top Garuda official told Indonesian media outlet Detik, according to AFP.
“In principle, it’s not that we want to replace Boeing, but maybe we will replace (these planes) with another model,” Garuda Indonesia director I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra told Detik.
Rosan told the Post that airline officials were scheduled to meet with representatives from Boeing to discuss the decision on March 28.
“The discussion won’t be easy,” he said.