Flight permits for Boeing 737 Max, says DGCA
Indian aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday allowed foreign-registered Boeing 737 Max aircraft, which were grounded in the country since the March 2019 fatal crash of such a plane in Ethiopia, to overfly India after taking the agency’s permission.
Moreover, foreign lessors are allowed to fly their grounded 737 Max aircraft out of India after taking the regulator’s permission, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) order said.
On March 13, 2019, all Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded in India by DGCA after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane on March 10 near Addis Ababa which had left 157 people, including four Indians, dead.
The regulator said on Tuesday it would issue “special flight permits” to fly 737 Max planes “to a base for storage, repairs, alterations or maintenance”.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been modifying the 737 Max plane since March 2019 so that various countries’ regulators, including the DGCA, permit its passenger flight operations again.
The DGCA stated on Tuesday that the ban imposed on March 13, 2019 would not be applicable on foreign-registered 737 Max plane that want to overfly “the Indian airspace”.
The second provision of DGCA's order said foreign-registered 737 Max plane, currently grounded in India, can conduct “operational readiness flight” followed by “ferry flight outside India”.
The second provision will allow foreign lessors to fly their 737 Max planes, currently grounded in the country, out of India.
On March 13, 2019, SpiceJet had to ground 12 Max planes, forcing it to cancel a significant number of flights on that day as well as on the next day. Jet Airways also had five Max planes in its fleet but they were already grounded as on March 13, 2019 because of non-payment of dues to the lessors.
A month later, the full-service carrier had shut down its operations due to lack of funds.