The Directorate General of Civil Aviation or the DGCA as it is popularly known, has decided to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating in the country by 4 pm on Wednesday.
The decision was taken by the Indian aviation watchdog in light of the recent tragic air crash involving 737 MAX 8 aircraft of the Ethiopian Airlines, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members on board.
Among those Indian airline companies who operate using 737 MAX 8 aircraft are SpiceJet and Jet Airways. While Jet has five of these aircraft, SpiceJet has 12 of them in its fleet.
SpiceJet, according to news agency PTI, said in a statement, “SpiceJet has suspended Boeing 737 Max operations following the DGCA’s decision to ground the aircraft. Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us and we will be working with the regulator and the manufacturer to attain normalcy in our operations. We are confident of accommodating the vast majority of our passengers and minimise inconvenience.”
The airline company on Tuesday had decided in favour of continuing with 737 MAX 8 aircraft even as countries around the world decided to ban the these aircraft. Its statement, as quoted by news agency ANI, had said, “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. We are actively engaged with both Boeing and the DGCA & will continue to put safety first, as always.”
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed soon after take-off from Jakarta last year, killing 189 people. The victims of Ethiopian Airlines were from 33 nationalities including one India, who was identified as Shikha Garg, who was travelling to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, She had had got married less than three months ago to Soumya Bhattacharya.