India grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft used by the country’s airline companies in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Saturday that killed all 157 people on board.
Hence, the global ban was the result of this week’s crash of this aircraft type in the African skies, increasing the likelihood of a further rise in domestic fares that remain high due to unrelated flight cancellations by some carriers.
Budget airline SpiceJet Ltd has 13 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet while Jet Airways (India) Ltd has five. All of them have been grounded following the aviation regulator’s pre-emptive order in light of the Ethiopia plane crash on Sunday.
“DGCA the Industry Regulator has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded (until) appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations. 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 aviation ministry tweeted late evening.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “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 (sic).”
Earlier in the day, SpiceJet in a statement said: “The Boeing 737 MAX is a highly sophisticated aircraft. It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally and some of the world’s largest airlines are flying this aircraft.”
Globally many countries have banned the operations of the aircraft after an Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 MAX flight crashed on Sunday killing all 157 people on board.
Countries ,including South Korea, Singapore and China have grounded the jets following the second fatal accident of the aircraft in just five months. In October, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital of Jakarta 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 onboard.
The ban will also have a significant impact on the fortunes of Boeing as the 737 Max is the world’s most-sold commercial aircraft and central to Boeing’s future.