Monday, March 11, 2019

Suresh Prabhu asks DGCA to immediately do safety assessment of Boeing 737 Max of SpiceJet, Jet

New Delhi: India will issue additional safety measures for operating the Boeing 737 Max which two of its airlines - SpiceJet and Jet Airways - have latest by Tuesday. Ethiopian Airlines and Chinese and Indonesian aviation regulators on Monday ordered grounding of the B737 Max following two crashes of this plane within five months in which 346 people have lost their lives.
Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu Tweeted: "Directed officials of DGCA to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX (being flown by domestic carriers). Safety of the passengers is our utmost concern. Directed secretary and DGCA to take appropriate action immediately."
"DGCA is reviewing the matter regarding safety issues post accident of Boeing Ethopian Airline B737-800MAX on Sunday. We shall issue additional safety instructions by Monday night or Tuesday morning in this regard for Indian operators," said a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official on Monday.
While the five B737 Max that Jet has are all grounded due to non payment of lease, SpiceJet is currently operating 13 of these planes. Its longest flight, Delhi-Hong Kong, is operated using the Max.
DGCA chief B S Bhullar had after the Ethiopian crash on Sunday said India has sought information from Boeing on this aircraft and that "further safety measures, if required, shall follow that".
The doomed Ethiopian and Lion Air B737 Max had four Indian passengers and an Indian pilot, respectively, among those on board.
While SpiceJet has up to 205 B737 Max on order, Jet Airways — which is facing a battle for survival — has 225 of them on order.
Following the Lion Air crash, the DGCA had issued a slew of directives for the B737 Max to both SpiceJet and Jet (which was then flying the Max). It had asked these two airlines to land their Boeing 737 Max at the nearest suitable airport in case this new plane shows any problem with its onboard maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) — a software on the B737 Max to prevent it from stalling.
"In case of any snag or feared snag with the MCAS, pilots will revert to manual trimming (not depend on or use MCAS) and then land at nearest suitable airport. If any repairs are carried out on MCAS of a B737 Max, that aircraft should first do a verification flight (without passengers) and after that begin commercial flights with passengers," the DGCA instructions had said.
11/03/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India