New Delhi: The DGCA has put the Boeing 737 fleets of Indian carriers on “enhanced surveillance” after a China Eastern Airlines aircraft of the same make crashed on Monday, March 21, killing 132 people, its chief Arun Kumar said.
“Flight safety is serious business and we are closely studying the situation. In the interim, we are focusing on enhanced surveillance of our 737 fleet,” the news agency quoted Kumar as saying.
Three Indian carriers – SpiceJet, Vistara and Air India Express – have Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleets.
Boeing 737 Max aircraft is an advanced version of Boeing 737-800 and both belong to the 737 series.
Two Boeing 737 Max aircraft were involved in accidents in the six month period between October 2018 and March 2019, killing a total of 346 people. Following these two accidents, the DGCA had banned Boeing 737 Max planes in India in March 2019.
After Boeing made necessary software rectifications to the satisfaction of the DGCA, the ban on the aircraft’s commercial operations was lifted in August last year.
The 737 has one of the best safety records among all aircraft, with just 11 fatal accidents out of more than 7,000 planes delivered since 1997, according to aviation consultancy Cirium.
“The 737 NG has been in operation for 25 years and has an excellent safety record,” said Paul Hayes, director of air safety and insurance at Cirium. “I’m not going to speculate on what happened but if the Flightfadar24 logs are accurate, something seems to have happened abruptly and the plane nose dived from cruising altitude.”
China crash updates
There were 132 people on board – 123 passengers and 9 crew – the Boeing plane that went down in a mountainous area near the Chinese city of Wuzhou, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. There were no foreigners among the victims.
Parts of the wreckage have been found.
China Eastern said it will ground all of its Boeing 737-800 jets starting Tuesday. An emergency telephone assistance line for families was set up and the carrier expressed deep condolences to passengers and crew members on board.
China Eastern’s website, mobile app and some of its social media platforms were turned to black and white in a sign of mourning.
President Xi Jinping urged rescue efforts following the crash.