DGCA, the aviation watchdog in India, has announce that all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the country would be grounded by 4 pm. “This is to cater to situations where aircraft are to fly back to India or go to maintenance facility for parking,” a DGCA official was quoted as saying by ANI. The Civil Aviation Secretary has called an emergency meeting of all airlines at 4 pm today in Delhi. “Boeing 737 MAX operations will stop from/to all Indian airports. Additionally no Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit the Indian airspace effective 1600 hrs Indian time or 1030 UTC. The time line is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities and international flights can reach their destinations,” the DGCA statement said.
The statement comes after late-night decision by the Director General of Civil Aviation to ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes following the Ethiopian plane crash that killed 157 people on Sunday. "DGCA has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations," the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet. "As always, passenger safety remains our top priority. We continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety," it added.
Meanwhile, Boeing has said in a statement that it continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
Boeing boss Dennis Muilenburg also had a telephonic conversation with US President Donald Trump. “Dennis reiterated to the President our position that the MAX aircraft is safe,” a company spokesperson said. After the call, Trump took to Twitter and said, “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are....” “....needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”
The worldwide suspension of Boing 737 MAX aircraft is followed by two crashes in less than six months. A new Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 flight went down over the Java Sea last October, killing 189 people. On Sunday, another Boeing aircraft crashed in Nairobi killing 157 people.