News Frontliner Web Desk, 13 March 2019: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Wednesday ordered that no Boeing 737 MAX jets would be allowed to enter Indian airspace after 4 pm IST today. India’s aviation safety regulator issued such an order after European Union’s aviation safety agency EASA grounded all flights in the bloc by Boeing’s 737-8 and 737-9 aircraft following Sunday’s deadly plane crash in Ethiopia.
The Civil Aviation Ministry will also hold a meeting with airlines at 4 pm today to arrange a contingency plan as a number of flights have to been cancelled in the changed scenario following the suspension.
In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways are the only two airlines company that operate the 737 MAX jet aircrafts. While Jet’s all five 737 MAX’s are grounded due to the airline’s financial issues, Spicejet has been allowed to fly till 4 pm today, so as to cater to situations where aircraft are to fly back to India or go to a maintenance facility for parking.
In a press statement, SpiceJet said, it has cancelled 14 of its flights today in line with the DGCA deadline and accommodated its passengers on alternate flights or offered a full refund. The airline said it would be operating additional flights from tomorrow.
On Sunday, a 787 Max aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines was involved in a second deadly accident in less than five months. All 157 onboard, including three Indians, were killed after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to Kenya. In October last year, another 787 Max aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia.
Following the crashes, multiple airlines across the globe announced the suspension of flight operations of Boeing’s flagship narrow body aircraft 787 Max.
The United States is one of the few remaining operators of the jet. The U.S. aviation regulator said it would not ground the planes and that a review “shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.” US-based Boeing, the company that builds the 787 Max has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.