Unlike some other nations that have taken serious protective measures for the flying of the Boeing 737 MAX including grounding it, India has come up with new guidelines.
After a fatal plane crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people recently, India’s civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has introduced additional safety measures for Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.
The new guidelines come considering that this is the second crash involving the 737 MAX 8 in less than five months.
“The issue has been reviewed in DGCA along with the Indian operators covering all reported snags or defects of significant nature along with rectification action(s) taken on these aircraft,” the regulator said in a statement.
“Compliance of an earlier advisory issued by DGCA post Lion Air accident on December 3, 2018 was also reviewed. During the review, it was observed that the ‘Daily Defect’ and ‘Daily Incident’ reports contained defects of routine nature and no significant concerns were observed.”
Additional measures have been issued to Indian operators managing engineering, maintenance and flight operations. Under the new norms, airlines will have to ensure the captain operating the aircraft has a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience and the co-pilot has 500 hours of experience on the MAX 737 planes.
Prior to the issuance of new safety guidelines, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu had directed India’s civil aviation regulator to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX aircraft, flown by domestic carriers. In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate 17 Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft.
Big deal for Boeing
Boeing is now being closely scrutinised for safety, with the regulators grounding fleet and ordering additional check elsewhere too.
Other than India, China is taking additional measures to monitor and control the flying of its Boeing fleet. On March 11, it ordered its airlines to suspend all 737 MAX 8 operations. Interestingly, of the over 350 737 MAX 8 planes that Boeing has delivered globally, 97 are in service in China.
In Indonesia, too, the government announced 737 MAX 8 planes to be temporarily grounded and be subject to safety checks.
Australia, Malaysia and Singapore are also taking precautions and have banned the aircraft from entering or crossing their skies. While only a handful of airlines operate from the world’s sixth busiest airport, Changi, no Australian airlines operate the Boeing 737 Max.
Ethiopian Airlines has grounded the remaining four 737 MAX 8 planes in its fleet as a precaution.
In the recent crash, a Nairobi-bound 737 MAX 8 crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa airport, killing 149 passengers and eight crew members. Of these four passengers were Indian.
Aviation experts say that the circumstances leading to the crash appeared similar to the fatal accident involving Lion Air Boeing 737 last October. The two planes are the same model and in both cases, brand-new planes crashed minutes after takeoff, leaving no survivors.
A lot many airlines across the world are using the Boeing 737 Max and as per Boeing, the plane used for short and medium distance flights, had become one of the fastest selling in the company’s history.