After the recent Ethiopian crash that killed 157 passengers onboard, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has decided to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in India. From 4 pm today (Wednesday), the country has put a strict ban on operating the plane and also has banned any overflying of it in the country’s airspace. “DGCA has decided to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations,” Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted.
“As always, passenger safety remains our top priority. We continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety,” DGCA said.
SpiceJet and Jet Airways are the airlines in India that have Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft for services. SpiceJet has around 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 in its fleet, and Jet Airways has about five of them. Following the DGCA inquiry into the safety aspects of the Boeing 737 Max 8, SpiceJet issued a statement saying that this model of aircraft is highly sophisticated and has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally.
However, after the DGCA ban, SpiceJet said that it had started the process to ground its Max fleet to the maintenance base. The process will be completed by 4 pm on Wednesday. The air service provider has cancelled 14 flights for Wednesday and will be operating additional flights from tomorrow. People are accommodated on alternate flights, and many have also received refunds, revealed SpiceJet.
India is not the only country that has issued a ban on Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Britain, Germany, France, China, Singapore, Oman, Malaysia, Australia, etc. have also banned the services of this aircraft. Many airlines have grounded the jets. Two fatal crashes are reported so far involving Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. The first crash was in October 2018, where a plane by Lion Air crashed killing 180 passengers onboard. On March 10, a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed within six minutes of its takeoff at Addis Ababa, killing 157 people onboard.
The model is newly launched and is one among the fast selling planes of the world.