New Delhi :
The government has grounded all the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft being operated by Indian airlines following the Ethiopian plane crash that killed 157 people on Sunday. “Thursday will be a ‘challenging’ day,” Civil Aviation Secretary PS Kharola said on Wednesday.
Lifting the ban on the aircraft will be based on inputs from various agencies and it will not happen soon, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief BS Bhullar said.
The DGCA announced its decision to ground the all the Boeing 737 Max 8 17 aircraft on Tuesday night. SpiceJet, which operates the largest fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in India, will adjust most passengers in its own flights. SpiceJet has 12 such aircraft in its fleet.
Following the DGCA order, SpiceJet said it has cancelled multiple flights.
"SpiceJet has presently announced cancellation of 14 flights for today (Wednesday) and will be operating additional flights from tomorrow. Of the 76 planes in our fleet, 64 aircraft are in operation and we are confident of minimizing the inconvenience," an airline statement said.
“If the need arises, other operators will pitch in,” Kharola said. Jet Airways has five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts in its fleet.
Operators have also agreed not to indulge in "predatory pricing", he said.
Meanwhile, shares of SpiceJet fell 8 per cent during the early trade on Wednesday.
India is the latest country to ground this aircraft, joining the European Union, Australia, Italy, China, and Singapore, which restrained their airlines from operating the Boeing 737 MAX planes.
The decision to ground the aircraft came days after a 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa, killing 157 people, including four Indians.