India bans transit rights to B-737-Max aircraft

India bans transit rights to B-737-Max aircraft

All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft would be grounded in India by 4 pm on Wednesday, said a senior official of Indian aviation watchdog DGCA. AFP file photo

India on Wednesday banned transit rights to Boeing 737 Max aircraft effective 4:00 p.m. IST. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation comes a day after it ordered grounding of all B737-Max aircraft run by airliners in the country.

The decision against the backdrop of a B737-Max aircraft operated by the Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa killing 157 people, including four Indians.

“No B737 Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace effective 1600hrs IST or 1030 UTC,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement here.

It said the 4:00 p.m. timeline was set to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities and international flights can reach their destinations.

SpiceJet operates 12 B737-Max aircraft and at least two planes were at foreign destinations on Tuesday. The 4:00 p.m. deadline would allow their return to maintenance facilities in India.

Late Tuesday night, the DGCA had ordered grounding of all B737-Max aircraft owned by airliners in India.

“SpiceJet has suspended Boeing 737 Max operations following DGCA's decision to ground the aircraft,” a SpiceJet statement said.

“Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us and we will be working with the regulator and the manufacturer to attain normalcy in our operations,” it said. 

Jet Airways has five B737 Max but they are on the ground for quite some time now due to non-payment of dues to lenders.