The aircraft involved was a new Boeing 737-800, a popular design in use worldwide. A total of 4,293 of the 737 Next Generation aircraft (including the 737-600, -700-, -800, and -900ER models) have been delivered by the end of December 2012, according to Boeing.
Boeing boasts that the 737-800 is the best-selling aircraft in the Next Generation series (with more than 2,800 in operation and more than 4,000 ordered). Boeing says that the aircraft is "known for its reliability, fuel efficiency and economical performance, the 737-800 is selected by leading carriers throughout the world because it provides operators the flexibility to serve a wide range of markets. The single-aisle jet, which can seat between 162 to 189 passengers, can fly 260 nautical miles farther and consume 7 percent less fuel while carrying 12 more passengers than the competing model."
This was a new aircraft, only in operation since March, which should mean that aircraft mechanical reliability or age, shouldn't be an issue. But Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait, hinted that the aircraft was the problem “When it tried to land at the airport, the aircraft was not able to reach the runway due to the incident," he said according to The Jakarta Post. The spokesman did not describe the nature of the incident. The pilot, said Sirait, had more than 10,000 hours of flying experience, but he didn't say in which types of aircraft.