All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in India to be grounded by 4pm: DGCA

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 14:32 hrs
Boeing 737 Max aircraft (Image Courtesy: Boeing)

New Delhi: All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in India are to be grounded by 4 pm this evening, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Wednesday.

However, the DGCA mentioned that MAX aircraft that need to be brought to a maintenance facility or for parking cannot fly with passengers on board or be used for commercial purposes.

Reports suggested that despite the DGCA asking for all B737 MAX aircraft to be grounded last night, planes of this make were operational.

In response to this, a DGCA official said "B737 MAX operations will stop from/to all Indian airports. Additionally, no B737 MAX aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit the Indian airspace effective 1600hrs Indian time or 1030 UTC. The timeline is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities and international flights can reach their destinations."

In a late night move, the DGCA on Tuesday decided to ground the controversial Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with immediate effect, in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said the planes will be grounded until appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.

Following the DGCA order, SpiceJet and Jet Airways - the two airlines operating the MAX fleet in India- cancelled around 20 flights, thus affecting around 300 passengers. A total of 17 MAX aircraft operate in India, out of which 12 belong to SpiceJet and 5 to Jet Airways.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane, on its flight to Nairobi, crashed shortly after taking off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, killing all 157 passengers on board.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola has called for an emergency meeting of airlines at 4 pm today.