Indian aviation watchdog grounds Boeing 737 MAX 8s after #EthiopianAirlinesCrash
The Indian aviation watchdog, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has decided to immediately ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes in the country. This comes days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash in which 157, including four Indians, were killed.
India is the latest to join a number of countries that have grounded the aircraft, the latest version of the American aircraft manufacturer's best-selling model.
Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft grounded by DGCA
Planes to remain grounded until modifications, safety measures are undertaken
"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 Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted.
Passenger safety remains our top priority: Ministry
"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 Ministry of Civil Aviation wrote on Twitter.
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Here's what the Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted
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. (2/2)— Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) March 12, 2019
SpiceJet, Jet Airways have 737 MAX 8 in their fleet
In India, SpiceJet has 13 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft while Jet Airways has five in its fleet.
However, after DGCA's decision, both the carriers suspended operations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
DGCA on Monday ordered additional maintenance checks for these aircraft. Indian carriers were directed to ensure pilots and co-pilots have 1,000hrs and 500hrs of flying experience on the aircraft, respectively.
Safety, security of passengers, crew, operations of utmost importance: SpiceJet
"Safety and security of our passengers, crew, and operations are of utmost importance to us," SpiceJet said. However, earlier on Tuesday, it defended the aircraft, calling the planes "highly sophisticated".
The airline also said that additional precautionary measures have been implemented and it was "actively engaged" with Boeing as well as the Indian aviation watchdog DGCA.
American regulators rule out grounding of 737 MAX 8
Earlier on Monday, American regulators directed aircraft manufacturer Boeing to make "urgent improvement" to its best-selling aircraft that was involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
However, the US regulators ruled out grounding of aircraft even as investigators in Ethiopia, who found two black box recorders, worked to "piece together" the plane's final moments while American carriers apparently maintained confidence in Boeing.
Europe, China, South Korea, Singapore have grounded the aircraft
Meanwhile, the European Union has suspended operations of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Many other countries, including China, South Korea, and Singapore, also grounded the plane after the second accident involving the aircraft in five months, the first being Lion Air crash in October.