Thursday, March 14, 2019

When DGCA grounded planes for safety reasons

The Indian aviation regulator on March 12 joined other countries in grounding the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, following the Ethiopian Airlines crash last week. This is the third major grounding action affecting Indian carriers in close to three decades. Here is a look at previous instances when this decision was imposed:
On the first week of March, civil aviation minister Arif Mohammed Khan ordered the grounding of 14 Airbus A-320 aircraft operated by the erstwhile Indian airlines.

This was a unilateral decision taken by the Indian government after Indian Airlines flight 605 from Mumbai to Bengalurucrashed into a golf course on February 14, killing 92 of the 146 people on board.

It was the second crash involving the aircraft after the crash of Air France's A-320 operating a chartered flight in 1988. It raised the questions on the Rajiv Gandhi government's purchase of the aircraft which had cost Rs 2,400 crore.
In January, state-run Air India grounded six of its Dreamliner planes following an order by the DGCA.

The decision followed a mandate from US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration to ground the aircraft across the world. Regulators and airlines in Europe and South America, too, had taken the same decision.

This followed electrical system problems stemming from the aircraft's lithium-Ion batteries faced by airlines across the world, led by Japan's All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines.
On March 12, 2018, the DGCA ordered grounding of 11 A320 Neo planes fitted with faulty Pratt & Whitney 1100 engines. This was a minor grounding and planes were back in operation next month.
The DGCA mandated grounding of all 737 Max until 'appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations'. The ban came a day after the DGCA had allowed the aircraft to fly under stricter conditions.

India joined 15 countries including China, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Australia, Brazil, UK, Germany and France.
On 10 March, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, barely four months old, crashed shortly after take off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.
14/03/19 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times