DGCA bans 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 Max for THIS reason


It seems like DGCA’s trouble with controversial Boeing 737 Max aircraft is not over yet. India’s aviation regulator DGCA has barred 90 SpiceJet pilots from operating the Boeing 737 Max aircraft after finding them not properly trained. The Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded in India on March 13, 2019, three days after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max aircraft near Addis Ababa, which killed 157 people, including four Indians.

The ban was later lifted in August 2021 after the DGCA was satisfied with US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s necessary software rectifications in the aircraft. Proper pilot training on the simulator was also among the conditions of the DGCA for removing the ban on the Max planes after a span of 27 months

Also read: First ‘Made-in-India’ commercial plane takes flight, Alliance Air operates Dornier 228

However, DGCA has found SpiceJet for flouting training norms of the 737 Max aircraft. Currently, SpiceJet, the Indian domestic air carrier is the sole operator of Boeing 737 Max in India. Akasa Air, the new airline backed by ace investor Jhunjhunwala, had in November last year signed a deal with Boeing to purchase 72 Max planes. Akasa Air has not got any of these planes as yet. 

“For the moment, we have barred these pilots from flying the Max and they have to retrain successfully for flying the aircraft,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar said in a statement. He also said that the regulator will take “strict action against those found responsible for the lapse.” The pilots will have to undergo training again, in a proper manner, on the Max simulator.

A SpiceJet spokesperson on Wednesday confirmed that the DGCA has restricted 90 pilots of the airline from flying the Max planes. This restriction does not impact the operations of the Max aircraft whatsoever. SpiceJet, currently, operates 11 Max aircraft and about 144 pilots are required to operate these aircraft, the spokesperson said.

“SpiceJet has 650 pilots trained on the Boeing 737 Max. The DGCA had an observation on the training profile followed for 90 pilots, and therefore, as per the advise of the DGCA, SpiceJet has restricted 90 pilots from operating the Max aircraft, until these pilots undergo re-training to the satisfaction of the DGCA. These pilots continue to remain available for other Boeing 737 aircraft,” the spokesperson said.

“Of the 650 trained pilots on the Max, 560 continue to remain available, which is much more than the current requirement,” the spokesperson said. SpiceJet is the only Indian airline that has the Max aircraft in its fleet.

With inputs from PTI

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