Monday, March 8, 2021
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Government of India orders immediate grounding of Boeing 737 MAX planes following Ethiopian Airlines crash

Several countries and airlines across the world have suspended operation of the aircraft

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes operated by Indian airlines with immediate effect. This decision has been taken after the fresh questions were raised about the safety of the plane after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 operating the Boeing 737 Max aircraft had crashed on 10th March. All 149 passengers and 8 crew members lost their lives in the crash. This was the second crash in recent times involving this model of the plane. On 28th November last year, a Lion Air aircraft of this model had crashed in Indonesia, killing all passengers and crew members.

The investigation into the Lion Air crash had indicated that technical problems with the aircraft were the reason for the crash. Both the pilots of the doomed aircraft were experienced pilots. After the second crash of the latest version of the narrow-body aircraft from Boeing several countries in the world had decided to ground the plane. After several countries like China, France, Germany, Ireland, Australia etc countries grounded the plane, today the European Union Aviation Safety Agency suspended Boeing 737 MAX from flying into or over airspace to ensure the safety of passengers. Several airlines across the world also have suspended the operation of the plane independently. The US said that the aircraft is airworthy and there is no need for grounding it.

Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had issued an advisory to operators of the plane, specifying several conditions for operating the aircraft. This included a minimum experience of 1000 hours for pilots and 500 hours for co-pilots in the Boeing 737 NG, the previous model of the aircraft. But later the ministry decided to suspend the operation of the aircraft. The ministry said that passenger safety remains the top priority, and the government will consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety.

The Boeing 737 MAX planes operated by India airlines will be remain grounded till appropriate modifications & safety measures are undertaken. Low cost carrier Spicejet will be the most affected airlines of this decision, as they operate 13 planes of this model. Jet Airways has 5 of the plane, but those planes are already grounded due to non-payment of lease rentals.

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