NEW DELHI — India’s aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on Aug. 25, lifted its ban on Boeing 737 Max jets.
“Based on design changes by M/s Boeing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on Nov. 18, 2020, mandating actions for 737 Max airplanes return to service (RTS),” said Arun Kumar, Director General of Civil Aviation in a press release.
“Concurrent with the issuance of the AD, FAA rescinded the Emergency Order of Prohibition. Subsequently, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also issued its own AD on Feb. 17, 2021, which DGCA has mandated for compliance on the Indian registered fleet.”
“This rescission enables operation of Boeing Company Model 737-8 and Boeing Company Model 737-9 airplanes only upon satisfaction of applicable requirements for return to service,” said Kumar.
Earlier in April, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation allowed the Boeing 737 Max aircraft to fly under certain conditions. However, the use of Boeing 737 Max aircraft for commercial use remains prohibited in India.
This year, the order issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Apr. 20 had made certain exceptions to the previous order of Mar. 13, 2019, that had banned all operations of B737 Max in India because of two deadly crashes reported in five months.
“Post issuance of AD by FAA/ EASA and rescinding of the grounding order by FAA, DGCA has been closely monitoring the global trend with regard to un-grounding of Boeing Company Model 737-8 and Boeing Company Model 737-9 airplanes,” said Kumar in the release.
“World-wide 17 regulators have permitted operation of Boeing 737 Max airplane. A sizeable number of airlines (34) with B737 Max airplane (345) are operating currently and have attained 1,22,824 total departures with 2,89,537 cumulative hours since the un-grounding from Dec. 9, 2020, with no untoward reporting.”
The Director-General grounded the Boeing Max jets after accidents involving Boeing 737 Max (Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302).
For the purpose of safety, the Director-General had directed that the operation of Boeing Company Model 737-8 and Boeing Company Model 737-9 would not take place from/to Indian airports and transit to enter into Indian airspace from March 13, 2019.
In October 2018, the newest member of Boeing’s 737 narrow-body family- 737 Max crashed in the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Then another aircraft of the same model crashed in Ethiopia in March 2019. In both these plane accidents, 346 people lost their lives. Investigations into the crashes revealed errors in the functioning of the jet’s piloting system, lapses in Boeing’s safety standard procedures, and cover-ups by company officials.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari