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India to ban Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after Ethiopian plane crash

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday said, all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft would be grounded by 4 pm.

This would be done to aircraft scheduled to fly back to India or go to the maintenance facility for parking.

Civil Aviation Secretary has called an emergency meeting of all airlines at 4 pm today in Delhi.

On Tuesday India banned the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in light of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people.

SpiceJet has around 12 ‘737 Max 8’ planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five.

“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 Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet.

“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,” it added.

On Sunday, a 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa killing 157 people, including four Indians.

This was second such crash involving the 737 MAX 8 aircraft in less than five months.

In October last year, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “Directed Secy to hold an emergency meeting with all Airlines to prepare a contingency plan to avoid inconvenience to passengers. While passenger safety is a zero tolerance issue, efforts are already on to minimize the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important (sic).”

European Union and many countries across the world have already banned the use of 737 Max 8 aircraft in their respective airspace.

In a statement, SpiceJet said, “We are actively engaged with both Boeing and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and will continue to put safety first, as always. We have already implemented all additional precautionary measures as directed by the DGCA yesterday.”

“The Boeing 737 Max is a highly sophisticated aircraft. It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally and some of the world’s largest airlines are flying this aircraft,” it said.

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