New Delhi: SpiceJet Ltd on Friday said it has grounded three of its Boeing 737 freighter aircraft after Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), which converted these planes to freighters, advised the Indian budget airline to do so.
An internal examination at IAI’s manufacturing facilities showed that there was a potential defect in these freighter aircraft, SpiecJet said in a regulatory filing today.
“During an internal examination of IAI’s manufacturing facilities, a potential defect was discovered in the process used to manufacture the 9G rigid barrier installed on these aircraft. These aircraft will return to operations after regulatory clearance," the budget carrier said.
The Israel government-owned aerospace and aviation manufacturer has advised airline companies across the world to ground their freighter aircraft converted by IAI.
According to a Reuters report, IAI on Wednesday had said it expected the national aviation authority of Israel to approve a fix on Thursday to allow some Boeing 737 freighters, converted by the state-run firm, to resume flying.
IAI earlier advised not to fly them after saying it had detected an “apparent irregularity" in the production process of a rigid barrier installed in some of the conversions. The company has delivered 47 of the converted Boeing 737s.
IAI said it had proposed an interim solution, which was being reviewed by Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI).
“CAAI reviewed favorably our... interim solution and intend to issue an Airworthiness Directive (Thursday), which will allow the aircraft to be operated safely," Reuters quoted IAI as saying.
IAI, a market leader in converting passenger planes into freighters, had recommended that operators of the aircraft should not fly them until results of the CAAI’s review were known. It declined to say how many companies operated the planes, Reuters’ said in its report.
Separately, Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd said it grounded four Boeing 737 freighters pending further guidance from IAI, which converted four Boeing 737-300 planes for Qantas in 2006. Qantas flies the converted aircraft on domestic cargo routes.