India grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, DGCA says passenger safety top priority

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 13 March 2019, 12:01 AM
Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft
Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday decided to ban the use of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft by the country's airline companies, official sources confirmed to News Nation.

"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 Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet.

 "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," it added.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said that he has directed DGCA Secretary to hold an emergency meeting with all the airlines to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to passenger. 

"Directed Secy to hold an emergency meeting with all Airlines to prepare a contingency plan to avoid inconvenience to passengers. While passenger safety is a zero tolerance issue, efforts are already on to minimise the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important," he tweeted.

The order basically means SpiceJet will have to immediately ground the 12-13 B 737 Max planes it has. The five such planes of Jet Airways are anyways grounded for quite some time now, from before the Ethiopian plane crash on Sunday, due to non-payment of lease rentals.

In a tweet on Monday, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu had said that he directed the DGCA to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX planes being flown by domestic carriers.

The moves follows the growing number of countries and carriers grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8, with some of them even banning the aircraft from their airspace following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that claimed 157 lives on Sunday.

Countries other than India which have banned Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft European Union, France, Germany, UK, Australia, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Singapore, South, Turkey and others. 

The crash of Ethiopian Airlines plane came five months after another Boeing 737 MAX 8 of Lion Air crashed in Indonesia that killed 189 passengers and crew. Reports said there were similarities between the Ethiopian and Indonesian air crashes as they both occurred during take-off, involving new aircraft that had just been delivered.

On the other hand, despite a wave of countries grounding the Boeing aircraft involved in another deadly crash, US authorities on Tuesday said it would not make any decision until it has more evidence.



First Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 11:29 PM
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