All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in India will be grounded by 4 pm on Wednesday, an official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
The decision came days after a similar aircraft of Ethiopian airlines crashed killing 157 people, including four Indians.
On Tuesday night, the regulator had announced that the planes would be grounded “immediately” for the sake of passenger safety.
“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,” Ministry of Civil Aviation 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,” the ministry added.
Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu 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
SpiceJet has around 12 such aircraft in its fleet and Jet Airways has five.
In a statement, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet has suspended Boeing 737 Max operations following DGCA’s decision to ground the aircraft. Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us.”
“We will be working with the regulator and the manufacturer to attain normalcy in our operations. We are confident of accommodating the vast majority of our passengers and minimise inconvenience,” the statement added.
Suresh Prabhu on March 11 directed officials of DGCA to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX (being flown by domestic carriers).
“Safety of the passengers is our utmost concern. Directed Secretary and DGCA to take appropriate action immediately,” Suresh had said.