Ethiopia Crash: Spice, Jet Airways Won’t Ground Boeing 737 Max 8

Ethiopia Crash: Spice, Jet Airways Won’t Ground Boeing 737 Max 8

India

Video Producer: Hera Khan
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

Indian carriers SpiceJet and Jet Airways can continue to use their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft despite the Sunday, 10 March, Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the same aircraft, a Quartz report said.

SpiceJet, in its official statement, said that it has already implemented all additional precautionary measures, as directed by the DGCA on Monday, 11 March.

The Quartz report said that the decision to not ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 could be related to the airlines adding a slew of the 737 MAX 8s to its fleet.

‘737 MAX a Capable Aircraft’: SpiceJet Says

SpiceJet, in its official statement, said:

“Boeing 737 MAX is a highly sophisticated aircraft. It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally & some of the world’s largest airlines are flying this aircraft. We are actively engaged with both Boeing and the DGCA & will continue to put safety first, as always.”

The company had added 12 of these aircraft’s in the October - December 2018 quarter.

Jet Airways, on the other hand, boasts of five 737 MAX 8s, but says its currently “not flying anything.”

Quartz reports that given how both the airlines had banked on their growth plans on the aircraft, the critical examination of the aircraft is something both can do without.

The DGCA, on Monday, instructed that only senior pilots, with at least 1,000 hours of flying experience, should fly a 737 Max 8. The DGCA has also advised stringent checks of the aircraft’s autopilot and stall management systems during long-transit stays.

The regulator said it is seeking suggestions from Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on additional safety checks. “The DGCA will continue to closely monitor the situation and may impose additional measures/restrictions,” the statement read.

Countries like South Korea, Australia, China, Indonesia and Singapore have already gone ahead and grounded the 737 Max aircraft.

Former Air India Executive Director Jitender Bhargava told The Quint that the natural tendency in such situations is to issue some caution. He said that when other countries are grounding the aircraft, our DGCA has decided to only issue safety guidelines, further saying that people in the industry are not privy to what prompted DGCA to take this decision.

“I have faith in the manufacturers. But if they haven’t issued guidelines, then DGCA would be better to exercise caution. That’s my opinion. But as I said, I don’t know what info DGCA has received that’s prompted this decision that nothing untoward will happen. But the normal tendency is to exercise some caution.”
Jitender Bhargava, Former Executive Director, Air India

"If other countries have decided to exercise extreme caution, why is DGCA not following course, one can't answer that,” Bhargava said.

(With inputs from Quartz.)

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