By Ahmad Adil
India decided to ground all Boeing 737-MAX planes in the country for passenger safety, after a fatal crash of a similar place in Ethiopia on Sunday.
“DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) 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,” India’s Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted on Tuesday night.
The decision came days after a similar aircraft of Ethiopian airlines crashed, killing all 157 on board.
It also said: “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.”
Early Wednesday, the ministry said that no B737Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace.
“B737 Max operations will stop from/to all Indian airports,” the ministry said on Twitter.
“Additionally no B737 Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace effective 1600hrs IST or 1030 UTC [GMT]. The time line is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities&international flights can reach their destinations,” it added.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu also tweeted about the development.
“Directed Secy [secretary] 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 minimize the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important,” he said.
Among the Indian carriers, Spice Jet and Jet Airways have such aircrafts, local media reported.
“We will ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, which are currently in use by Indian airlines, by 4 pm [1030GMT] today,” a DGCA official, was quoted by news agency Press Trust of India, as per a report published by local broadcaster news18 on Wednesday.