India finally grounds its Boeing 737 Max flights-- 13 of SpiceJet and 5 of Jet Airways planes may be affected

Boeing employees are pictured in front of a 737 MAX 8 produced for Southwest Airlines as Boeing celebrates the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo
  • Eighteen countries had already banned the Boeing 737 Max planes from flying
  • SpiceJet has 13 planes of the model in its fleet while Jet Airways has 5
  • 49 of Jet’s planes have already been grounded because the company hadn’t paid its lessors
The misplaced caution from the Indian aviation regulator has finally been corrected and Boeing 737 Max planes have been grounded, two days after the tragic crash of Ethiopian airlines that killed 157 people on board.

The decision from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) came late on March 12 (Tuesday) after eighteen countries had already barred airlines from flying the Boeing 737 Max models.

Shares of two top airlines in India Jet Airways and SpiceJet dipped by 2.2% and 5.5% in the early hours of trade on Wednesday soon after India grounded Boeing 737 MAX

“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,” the regulator said in a tweet and added that, "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.”

However, earlier on the same day the regulator was cautious in estimating the risk involved. “The issue has been reviewed in DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) today (Monday) along with the Indian operators covering all reported snags or defects of significant nature along with rectification action(s) taken on these aircraft," the regulator had said in a statement.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed on Sunday had been in service for only four months and had no known technical issues, Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline's chief executive, told NBC. The Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October 2018 was also a Boeing 737 Max and it crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta. The Lion Air plane was in use a little over two months.

Jet Airways has five Boeing 737 Max 8 flights in its fleet and SpiceJet has 13. This may be an added blow for Jet, whose 49 out of a fleet of 119 planes have already been grounded after unpaid lessors decide to cut their losses.

SEE ALSO:
India's new safety norms for flying B737 MAX planes to allow only experienced pilots


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