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Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to be grounded in India: The impact

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on March 13, 2019 Published on March 13, 2019

Representative image

Jet Airways is the only other Indian carrier which has five Boeing MAX aircraft in its fleet but all these aircraft are grounded at present

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) decided to ground all Boeing MAX aircraft late Tuesday night.

While the decision was being made, some MAX aircraft of SpiceJet were said to be in air. This led to speculation that the aircraft will be grounded once they return to base.

SpiceJet has 13 Boeing 737 MAX 800 aircraft of which 12 are operational. SpiceJet and DGCA officials did not respond to phone calls to get clarity on the matter.

Jet Airways is the only other Indian carrier which has five Boeing MAX aircraft in its fleet but all these aircraft are grounded at present.

The DGCA’s decision to not permitting Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to fly in India is likely to see up to 180-200 daily departures being cancelled which could lead to higher domestic air fares and inconvenience passengers.

Analysts point out that IndiGo along with Jet Airways are estimated to have cancelled over 100 daily flights and now with the grounding of the MAX another 70 to 80 daily departures could be affected.

An industry watcher pointed out that presently, the fares are not high due to the ‘low season’. “But if the situation continues beyond April, then there could be some impact on the fares,” he said.

Late on Tuesday night, the DGCA decided to ground the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft saying that these planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications/safety measures are made to ensure their safe operations. It added that passenger safety remains their top priority. We continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, all airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety.

India follows in the footsteps of Australia, Singapore, United Kingdom (UK), Oman and a host of other countries which have put a temporary ban on the Boeing MAX operated by their airlines. The global ban comes in the wake of two crashes involving this aircraft in under four months. The latest happened on Sunday when an Ethiopian Airline Boeing MAX aircraft crashed while on a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

There were no survivors of the crash. In October 2018, a Lion Air Boeing MAX had crashed in Indonesia killing all on board.

Published on March 13, 2019
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