SpiceJet has started using six aircraft out of its 13 Boeing 737 Max planes for commercial operations, confirms the Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh. In a reply given to Rajya Sabha, the Minister said that the plane was approved for operations after Boeing modified the aircraft’s software as mandated in EASA’s airworthiness directive.
“Out of 13 grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft of Spice Jet, six aircraft have been put into operations along with a return to service actions after modifications as mandated in EASA’s AD (European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s airworthiness directive),” Minister said.
Boeing 737 Max aircraft was grounded in India since March 2019 following two fatal air crashes reported in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing a total of 346 people. India removed the ban in August 2021.
DGCA keeps an eye on SpiceJet's Boeing 737 Max
Recently, SpiceJet reported that one of its Boeing Max planes that took off from Mumbai to Kolkata had to return to Mumbai airport within 15 minutes of take-off due to technical issues. According to SpiceJet, one of the CFM LEAP – B1 engines developed snag mid-air, and the pilots switched it off inflight.
The new snag triggered queries on the safety aspects of the Boeing 737 Max once again. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given SpiceJet a list of preventive measures to follow to monitor the aircraft’s performance. The aviation regulator has asked SpiceJet to record the hydraulic and engine oil quantity, variations in oil temperature, pressure indications and vibration before and after each flight. In association with DGCA and SpiceJet, engine manufacturer CFM and Boeing are evaluating the issue in detail.
SpiceJet is currently the only airline in the country using Boeing 737 Max aircraft. SpiceJet had signed a USD 22 billion deal with Boeing for 205 aircraft in 2017 and has 13 of these planes in its fleet at present. Akasa Air, the airline, slated to launch in the summer of 2022, has also ordered 72 Boeing aircraft.