India to ‘study and react’ on Federal Aviation Administration order allowing production of Boeing MAX aircraft

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 18, 2020

No timeline for when India will allow flight with the controversial airplane

India will “study and react” to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) order to rescind the order that halted commercial operations of the Boeing 737-8s and 737-9s (the controversial MAX aircraft), Indian government sources have said.

“It will take some time,” Indian government officials indicated on Wednesday when asked by when this variety of aircraft will be allowed to fly in India. At the moment, there is no time-frame on by when India will lift the ban on MAX aircraft flying in India.

In March 2019, within 19 months of its first flight with Southwest Airlines, the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft faced a global ban following two fatal crashes within a gap of five months in different parts of the globe. The first was a Lion Air crash in October 2018, which was followed by an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019. India banned the aircraft on March 13, 2019.

The latest FAA move will allow airlines that are under the FAA’s jurisdiction, including those in the US, to take the steps necessary to resume services and Boeing to begin making deliveries of these aircraft.

The Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA spells out the requirements that must be met before US carriers can resume service, including installing software enhancements, completing wire separation modifications, conducting pilot training and accomplishing thorough de-preservation activities that will ensure the airplanes are ready for service.

In India, SpiceJet has ordered 155 MAX aircraft, of which 13 are in its fleet and Jet Airways (which suspended operations last April) had five MAX aircraft in its fleet.

In August last year, Arun Kumar, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, had said that India will take a “conservative view” on allowing Indian carriers to fly the Boeing 737 MAX again.

Published on November 18, 2020

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