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India grounds Boeing 737 Max 8: SpiceJet cancels 14 flights; DGCA prepares contingency plan

SpiceJet has cancelled 14 flights in wake of India's civil aviation authorities decision to ground the Boeing 737 max aircraft by 4 pm today. The DGCA's decision comes after growing concerns on the safety of the aircraft in wake of Ethiopian Airlines aircraft carsh that killed 157 people. Almost half of the world, including Europe, China and Australia have banned the 737 Max 8 from its airspace.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: March 13, 2019 12:34 IST
Boeing 737 Max
Image Source : FILE

Boeing 737 Max

SpiceJet has cancelled 14 flights in wake of India's civil aviation authorities decision to ground the Boeing 737 max aircraft by 4 pm today. The DGCA's decision comes after growing concerns on the safety of the aircraft in wake of Ethiopian Airlines aircraft carsh that killed 157 people. Almost half of the world, including Europe, China and Australia have banned the 737 Max 8 from its airspace.

New Delhi: Passenger services are likely to hit after India announced that it was also going to ban the entry of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft due to safety concerns in wake of Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. Following the DGCA's order that said that no Boeing 737 Max 8 will fly in Indian airspace after 4 pm today, SpiceJet announced that it had cancelled 14 flights.

SpiceJet has 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in its fleet. SpiceJet Wednesday said it will be operating additional flights from Thursday. 

The decision came days after a 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by the Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa killing 157 people, including four Indians. 

However, a DGCA official told PTI on Wednesday morning,"We will ground all 737 Max 8 aircraft, which are currently in use by Indian airlines, by 4 pm today." 

The Civil Aviation Ministry issued a statement, saying no Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft would be allowed to fly in Indian airspace from 4 pm.

Following which, the SpiceJet also confirmed the news. 

"Consequent to the regulatory directive on the Boeing 737 MAX, SpiceJet has already initiated grounding of its MAX fleet. In order to cause least inconvenience to its passengers and also bring these aircraft to its maintenance base we expect to complete this exercise on or before 4 pm today," the airline added. 

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Ministry will hold a meeting with the airlines at 4 pm Wednesday to prepare a contingency plan as a number of flights have been cancelled because of the grounding of the 737 Max 8 aircraft, said a senior government official. 

SpiceJet said Wednesday,"While a majority of passengers affected as a result of these cancellations have been accommodated by SpiceJet on alternate flights, rest have been offered a full-refund."

While this report was being written, it is learnt that the DGCA was also monitoring the current situation and making contingency plans to ensure that passengers don't face much problem. 

"SpiceJet has presently announced cancellation of 14 flights for today and will be operating additional flights from tomorrow. Of the 76 planes in our fleet, 64 aircraft are in operations and we are confident of minimising the inconvenience to our passengers and attain normalcy in our operations," SpiceJet said in a statement Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced its decision to "immediately" ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that are currently being used by airline companies in India.

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