Boeing 737 MAX cleared to fly in Indian airspace again

  • Indian civil aviation regulator ungrounds Boeing 737 MAX jets.
  • SpiceJet expects to start Boeing 737 MAX operations next month.
  • India grounded 737 MAX jets on March 13, 2019.

India’s civil aviation regulator announced today that Boeing 737 MAX aircraft were allowed to operate in Indian airspace again.

All Boeing 737 MAX jets were grounded globally in March 2019 after two crashes within 5 months.

India had banned all MAX aircraft from flying to, from, within and over Indian airspace on March 13, 2019.

Recently, these aircraft were allowed to fly again by civil aviation regulators in the US, EU, UAE and other countries – after carrying out the required safety modifications and undergoing required hardware and software updates for safety.

India’s SpiceJet Ltd said on Thursday it expects Boeing Co’s grounded 737 MAX jets in its fleet to return to service at the end of September following a settlement struck with lessor Avolon on leases of the aircraft.

SpiceJet — the only Indian carrier with B737 Max in India — 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… around the end of September 2021, “subject to regulatory approvals.”

In all, there were eighteen Boeing 737 Max aircraft in India — five ex-Jet and 13 of SpiceJet — at the time of grounding.

Indian billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala also plans to launch a new low-cost airline by early next year with a B737 Max fleet. Ex-Jet Max have been flown out by lessors.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar issued an order rescinding the March 2019 grounding of B737-8/9 MAX today.

“This rescission enables operation of Boeing Company Model 737-8 and Boeing Company Model 737-9 (MAX) airplanes only upon satisfaction of applicable requirements for return to service,” Kumar said.

Earlier in April, the DGCA had allowed foreign-registered Boeing 737 Max aircraft that was grounded in India to be flown out of the country. It had also allowed overflying of modified Max over Indian airspace.

Following this, some foreign registered aircraft grounded at various airports in India were able to undertake RTS.

So far, 175 out of 195 countries have lifted restrictions on Max, and over 30 operators have returned the plane to service.

In a statement, Boeing said: “The DGCA’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in India. Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to return the airplane to service worldwide.”

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