Boeing ban to hit 15K passengers

Boeing ban to hit 15K passengers

The ban on B-737 Max aircraft was likely to impact over 15,000 passengers

After India joined the growing list of countries to ground the Boeing 737 Max aircraft following Sunday’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, analysts believe the move could impact more than 15,000 passengers of SpiceJet, the only airliner to operate the aircraft.

According to the Aviation Newscast by CARE Ratings, the ban on B-737 Max aircraft was likely to impact over 15,000 passengers over the next few days and also lead to increase in airfares across major domestic destinations.

In a late night move on Tuesday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation ordered grounding of B-737 Max aircraft “till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations”.

SpiceJet and Jet Airways are the only Indian airlines which have the B-737 Max aircraft in their fleet. SpiceJet operates 12 aircraft and has another 155 on order, while the five planes leased by Jet Airways have already been grounded due to non-payment of dues.

Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Kharola said Thursday will be a “challenging” day as “out of 520 odd flights that SpiceJet flies every day, about 30-35 will have to be cancelled”. Kharola reviewed the situation with airline executives and asked SpiceJet to take additional aircraft on wet lease if required to minimise disruption for passengers.

On Wednesday, DGCA set a deadline of 4 pm for Spicejet to ground the aircraft type and also issued orders banning transit rights over Indian airspace to any B-737 Max aircraft.

Spicejet announced that it had cancelled 14 flights on Wednesday and will operate additional flights from Thursday to minimise inconvenience to passengers.

“SpiceJet is rationalising and optimising the use of its Boeing 737 NG and Bombardier Q400 aircraft to address the current situation and minimise inconvenience to its passengers,” a Spicejet spokesperson said.

“While a majority of passengers affected as a result of these cancellations have been accommodated by SpiceJet on alternative flights, the rest have been offered a full refund,” the airliner said.