India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has recently decided to ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft following the Ethiopian plane crash that killed 157 people on board including four Indians. The planes will stay grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations, the Civil Aviation Ministry announced on Tuesday evening.
Civil Aviation Ministry said on Twitter: “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,”
The decision was taken after a number of countries grounded the new model of the US aircraft manufacturer’s best-selling 737.
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. (1/2)— Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) March 12, 2019
DGCA had ordered additional maintenance checks for the planes but stopped short of ordering their grounding. It also directed Indian carriers to ensure that pilots have 1,000 hours and co-pilots 500 hours of flying experience on the 737 MAX 8.
Among Indian carriers, SpiceJet has 13 jets of the model 8 variant in its 75-strong fleet while Jet Airways has five such aircraft.
Following the DGCA’s decision, both the airlines have have suspended the operation of their 737 MAX 8 jets.
SpiceJet has said: “Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us.” The airline, earlier on Tuesday, had defended the jets and called them “highly sophisticated”.
SpiceJet said it had implemented the additional “precautionary measures” and was “actively engaged” with Boeing and the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Many countries, including South Korea, Singapore and China have grounded the jets following the Ethiopian Plane crash.
US regulators on Monday ordered Boeing to make urgent improvements to the best-selling jet involved in the fatal Ethiopia plane crash but ruled out grounding the fleet as investigators worked to piece together the aircraft’s final moments while US carriers appear to maintain confidence in the manufacturer.