It looks like the Boeing crisis in terms of the 737 Max aircraft isn't going to die down any time soon. After nations like China, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia among many others, India too has grounded the aircraft. The decision was taken after a Boeing 737 Max, operated by the Ethiopian Airlines, crashed enroute Nairobi in Kenya on March 10, six minutes after take-off. The cause of the mishap isn't yet known, but the airline said that the pilot had issues with the aircraft and had sought permission to return to Addis Ababa.
The ban in India was announced late on Tuesday, March 12, night through a notification from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which said that India was taking the step for safety reasons.
"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 tweet 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."
The DGCA had earlier sought information on the 737 Max aircraft from Boeing as well as Indian carriers Jet Airways and Spice Jet, who are known to operate these planes. While many of Jet's 737 Max remain grounded, SpiceJet was said to be operating about 13 of these aircraft.
"A Boeing 737 Max aircraft flown by Ethiopian Airlines has crashed. Our two airlines (Jet Airways and SpiceJet have these aircraft) and DGCA officials are in touch with Boeing for information. Further safety measures if required shall follow that," DGCA chief B S Bhullar had told the Times of India.
After the concerns over the 737 Max aircraft, SpiceJet had defended the plane calling them "highly sophisticated." While it later said that it had grounded the planes and that "safety and security of passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance," the airline has been accused of defying the DGCA order and operating at least eight flights using the 737 Max aircraft on Tuesday night.
Of these, two Boeing 737 Max were returning from Dubai and Hong Kong, and others flew within the country, reported CNBC-TV18.
Meanwhile, India has now joined a long list of countries that have grounded the Boeing 737 Max aircraft after two fatal crashes — Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia's Lion Air — in a span of just about four months.
The civil aviation administration of China (CAAC) issued a notice on March 10 ordering all domestic airlines to suspend the commercial operation of the Boeing 737- Max 8 aircraft. The regulator said that it had taken the step "in view of the fact that the two air crashes were newly delivered Boeing 737-8 aircraft" and had "certain similarities," reported the Guardian.
Other nations to ground the aircraft are:
- Australia - no airline is permitted to fly the 737 Max to or from the nation, which has also impacted SilkAir and Fiji Airways
- United Arab Emirates
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Argentina, Aerolineas Argentinas
- Morocco, Royal Air Maroc
- Mexico, Aeromexico
- Brazil, Gol Airlines
- Cayman Airways