Sunday, September 26, 2021

Boeing 737 Max to start flying passengers again from October 5: SpiceJet

New Delhi: The Boeing 737 Max will take to the skies for ferrying passengers starting October 5 — almost 2.5 years after this aircraft was globally grounded. SpiceJet, the only Max operator in India as of now, and Boeing started the return to service program after the airline reached an agreement with the two lessors of its 13 planes in India.

As the required software and hardware changes are carried out, along with pilot refresher training, the aircraft will return to service. The first flight on October 5 is likely to be a domestic metro one from Delhi, said a SpiceJet official.

Billionaire investor-backed upcoming airline Akasa is also expected to place an order for over 100 B737 Max in coming days as rival Airbus has no early delivery slots for its best-selling A320 for new orders. Jet Airways 2.0 is also looking at the Max for this reason, among other factors.

India had barred the B737 Max from flying to/from/over it on March 13, 2019, as part of the global grounding following two Max crashing — one of Indonesia’s Lion Air and other of Ethiopian Airlines — within five months. In all, 346 people had lost their lives in these two crashes.

Last year, Boeing finalised corrective software and hardware modifications. These changes were vetted and approved by foreign aviation regulators, including those of country of manufacture USA, EU, UAE, Singapore and UAE. India was among the last to approve the changes and allow modified Max to fly again, with China the only major country yet to clear it.

26/09/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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