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The 737 Max planes have been grounded since March 2019. AP
The 737 Max planes have been grounded since March 2019. AP

DGCA will assess 737 Max to certify its airworthiness

  • In India, no-frills carrier SpiceJet is the only sole operator of 737 Max planes; it has 12 such aircraft in its fleet

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will conduct its own due diligence before allowing the grounded Boeing 737 Max planes to return to Indian skies, a DGCA official said, seeking anonymity.

The ill-fated Boeing 737 Max planes, grounded since March 2019 following two fatal crashes, may be allowed to operate, with the US aviation regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), releasing proposed 737 Max training guidelines for pilots.

Many regulators, including the FAA, are reviewing the aircraft and the new training methods before approving the aircraft to fly again. The FAA has, however, not given a time frame for service resumption.

“We are looking forward to approvals from US and European agencies like FAA and EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) for the return of 737 Max planes. Pilots flying the 737 Max aircraft in India will mandatorily have to undergo simulator training before being allowed to operate them," the official said.

Last week, the FAA had proposed new minimum training for 737 Max pilots, including several scenarios in full-flight simulators, preceded by reviews of related checklists and materials, according to a 6 October report by the agency. A copy of the FAA report was reviewed by Mint.

“Boeing is working closely with the FAA and other global regulators to meet their expectations as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service," said a spokesperson of the planemaker in an email response.

The DGCA will conduct its own tests before re-certifying these planes for Indian skies.

In India, no-frills carrier SpiceJet Ltd is the sole operator of Boeing 737Max planes. The airline has taken delivery of 12 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes so far, which are at present grounded. A SpiceJet spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comments.

The 737 Max was grounded by the DGCA on 13 March after global aviation regulators did the same following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max near Addis Ababa on 10 March 2019, killing 157 people. This followed the crash of a Lion Air plane on 29 October 2018 that killed 180 people in Indonesia.

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