Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ground to air: Airlines face many headwinds

The Indian aviation sector had been fastest growing over the past four years, making it the world’s envy. But this blistering pace of growth in passenger numbers has brought along its own share of challenges; the latest being the problems associated with Boeing737 MAX, which are operated by Jet AirwaysNSE -1.65 % and SpiceJet. ET takes stock of the major pain points for the burgeoning industry — technical problems with new aircraft, financial stress and cascading impact on capacity, and the shortage of air traffi c controllers.
Max & Neo: are they safe?
Airbus 320 (Neo), fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines, are yet to sort out its technical glitches, triggering safety concerns due to several incidents of mid-air engine shutdowns. Indian carriers most affected are IndiGoNSE 2.52 % and GoAir, as several aircraft are grounded due to the lack of spare engines.
Airbus 320 (Neo)’s rival Boeing 737 MAX faces a similar predicament, with a plane each from two carriers — Lion Air of Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines — crashing, killing all on board. In October 2018, a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea after take-off due to instrument failure causing an abrupt skydive. The March 10 crash of the Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX has resulted in a ban by several aviation regulators.
India’s DGCA has joined 15 countries — United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Turkey, Austria, China, Australia, Singapore, Ethiopia, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia — in grounding the Boeing 737 MAX. Earlier, the Indian regulator had allowed the aircraft’s operation albeit with stricter norms, mandating that only pilots with 1,000 hours of experience can fly it.
13/03/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times