India grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 planes till safety measures taken

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Updated: March 13, 2019 12:53:22 AM

SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate the new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. SpiceJet has around 12 '737 Max 8' planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five.

This is for the second time in less than five months that a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed. In October 2018, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia.

India’s aviation regular DGCA grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on Tuesday in light of the Ethopian Airlines crash, in which 157 people were killed.

SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate the new model of the Boeing aircraft. SpiceJet has around 12 ‘737 Max 8’ planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five.

“DGCA has taken the decision 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,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet.

“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,” it added.

On Sunday, a 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa killing 157 people, including four Indians.

This was second such crash involving the 737 MAX 8 aircraft in less than five months. In October last year, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia.

After the crash in Ethiopia, Boeing, on Sunday, said it was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. “A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and US National Transportation Safety Board,” the aircraft maker said in a statement.

“The 737 MAX is the fastest selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating nearly 4,700 orders from more than 100 customers, worldwide,” according to Boeing website.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “Directed Secy to hold an emergency meeting with all Airlines to prepare a contingency plan to avoid inconvenience to passengers. While passenger safety is a zero tolerance issue, efforts are already on to minimise the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important (sic).”

European Union and many countries across the world have already banned the use of 737 Max 8 aircraft in their respective airspace.

In a statement, SpiceJet said,”We are actively engaged with both Boeing and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and will continue to put safety first, as always. We have already implemented all additional precautionary measures as directed by the DGCA yesterday.”

“The Boeing 737 Max is a highly sophisticated aircraft. It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally and some of the world’s largest airlines are flying this aircraft,” it said.

(With PTI inputs)

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