About 350 Boeing 737 Max 8 are currently in service with airlines around the world, with thousands more on order. Boeing insists it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies.
India on Tuesday grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in light of the Ethopian Airlines crash, in which 157 people were killed.
SpiceJet has around 12 ‘737 Max 8’ planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five.
“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.
On Sunday, a 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa killing 157 people, including four Indians.
This was second such crash involving the 737 MAX 8 aircraft in less than five months. In October last year, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia.
The European Union aviation safety agency also said it was closing European airspace to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
The UK on Tuesday became yet another country to ban the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from its airspace in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the model.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said passenger airlines using the aircraft will not be allowed to operate in or over UK airspace “as a precautionary measure” until further notice.
France and Ireland have taken similar steps.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace,” a CAA spokesperson said.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice,” it noted.
British travel operator TUI confirmed that all of its 737 Max 8 fleet has been grounded.
Norwegian Airlines, which flies planes out of the UK, has also suspended flights of its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
The UK joins Singapore, China, Malaysia and Australia, in grounding the jets after all 157 on board such an aircraft with Ethiopian Airlines died in a crash on Sunday.
It was the second fatal accident involving the 737 Max 8 model in less than five months – the previous crash involving a Lion Air aircraft in Indonesia in October last year when it crashed into the sea off Indonesia and killed all 189 on board.
US officials say the aircraft are still safe to fly.
But the largest operator of 737 Max 8s in the US, Southwest Airlines, is offering passengers scheduled to fly on one of the Boeing planes the chance to change their bookings.
Boeing said it had been developing a flight control software enhancement for several months since the Lion Air Flight 610 disaster last month.
It said the software changes were designed to make “an already safe aircraft even safer”.
About 350 Boeing 737 Max 8 are currently in service with airlines around the world, with thousands more on order.
Boeing insists it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies.
Photograph: Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters