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Photo: AP (AP)
Photo: AP (AP)

After US, India set to inspect idling Boeing 737s

DGCA is said to have sought compliance of its directive from Vistara, SpiceJet and Air India Express

Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered for inspection of Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) and 737 Classic planes that are operated by three Indian airlines SpiceJet, Vistara and AirIndia Express, a senior DGCA official said.

The decision was taken by the Indian aviation watchdog after US' The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday said that Boeing Co. 737s that have been put in storage during this year’s pandemic must be inspected as they are at risk of losing power in both engines.

The order applies to Next Generation and Classic 737s, two generations of the model that is the most common single-aisle jetliner in the world, Bloomberg reported adding that The FAA said in the order that it was prompted by four instances in which a corroded valve caused one engine to shut down.

Indian airlines grounded hundreds of jets during a government imposed lockdown for two months between 25 March to 25 May to contain the covid-19 pandemic. During this period, the entire fleet of Indian commercial operators were completely grounded, apart from few special charter flights, which were allowed to operate

The DGCA has asked for compliance from the concerned operators, Vistara, SpiceJet and Air India Express, the DGCA official added, requesting anonymity.

When contacted, a Vistara spokesperson said that the airline is complying with the DGCA orders.

"The inspection has already been completed on all six of our Boeing 737 aircraft," the Vistara spokesperson added.

A SpiceJet spokesperson said that The FAA AD (airworthiness directive) applies to a small number of 737s in the airline's fleet that haven’t yet completed ten cycles on return of aircraft to service.

"They are being inspected. The majority of our planes have completed ten cycles already and are not affected by this AD," the spokesperson added.

Air India Express's chief executive Krishnamurthi Shyamsundar didn't respond to a call.

Ajay Singh-controlled SpiceJet, which is the largest operator of Boeing 737 planes, has 82 such aircraft in its fleet, according to data from the airline's website. Vistara has six such planes while Air India Express has 25 such aircraft in its fleet.

As things stand, Boeing's 737MAX planes, 13 of which are operated by SpiceJet, remain grounded after regulators across the world forbid the usage of the aircraft following two fatal crashes. However, the grounded Boeing 737MAX planes have moved towards flying again as US regulators recently agreed to accept public comments on a plan to recertify the jet.

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