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DGCA lifts ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, SpiceJet to operate them by next month

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday lifted two-and-half-year long ban from Boeing Co’s 737 MAX aircraft and allowed it to fly in Indian airspace again with immediate effect. The Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded globally in March 2019 after two fatal accidents in five months.

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Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been modifying the 737 MAX plane since March 2019 so that various countries’ regulators, including the DGCA, permit its passenger flight operations again.

Issuing an order today, the DGCA said that the operation of Boeing 737 MAX planes are permitted “only upon satisfaction of applicable requirements for return to service”.

SpiceJet, as per reports, has over 100 737 MAX planes on order. The Gurugram-based airline said it has entered into a “settlement” with a lessor of Boeing 737 Max planes — Avolon.

“SpiceJet has entered into a settlement with Avolon, a major lessor of Max aircraft, paving the way for the airline’s 737 MAX aircraft to start to return to service,” the low-cost carrier said in the statement.

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In a statement, the airline said it hopes to see these MAX aircraft flying again soon. SpiceJet is the only airline in the country to fly the 737 MAX aircraft.

The airline, in the statement today, also said it expects to start operations of Max planes around the end of September this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Nearly 175 countries have allowed the 737 MAX to return to service following a safety ban, with 30 airlines already restarting their MAX aircraft services.

Aviation regulators in the US and Europe have already approved the aircraft for flying with extensive fixes.

China is now the only major market where regulators are yet to give the MAX a go-ahead. Boeing earlier this month conducted a test flight of the 737 MAX plane in China.

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Recently, these planes were allowed to fly again by regulators of different countries as well like the US, EU and UAE — after undergoing required hardware and software updates for safety.

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