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90 SpiceJet pilots barred from flying Boeing 737 Max: DGCA

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has barred 90 pilots of SpiceJet airline from operating Boeing 737 Max aircraft after finding irregularities in their training practice.

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“90 pilots have been restrained from flying the Boeing 737 MAX. They will have to undergo training again to the satisfaction of DGCA,” DGCA Director-General Arun Kumar told news agency.

A SpiceJet spokesperson told the agency that the restriction by the DGCA does not impact the airline’s operation.

“This restriction does not impact the operations of MAX aircraft whatsoever. SpiceJet currently operates 11 MAX aircraft and about 144 pilots are required to operate these 11 aircraft. Of the 650 trained pilots on the MAX, 560 continue to remain available,” the spokesperson said.

The DGCA had mounted enhanced surveillance on Boeing 737 aircraft fleet operated by Indian airlines after a 737-800 plane operated by China airline crashed on mountains in southern China killing 132 people on board last month.

Indian airlines like SpiceJet, Vistara and Air India Express operate Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleets. While Vistara had about five Boeing 737-800NG planes, Air India Express has 24 Boeing 737-800NG in its fleet. Big Bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Akasa will be another airline that will use this aircraft.

Aviation authorities in the US later directed Boeing to revamp the planes and implement new training protocols for the pilots. The ban on Boeing 737 MAX was lifted in India in 2021.

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