DGCA to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX aircraft

New Delhi, March 11: A day after an Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 MAX flight crashed, killing all 157 people on board, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu here on Monday directed India’s civil aviation regulator to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX aircraft, flown by domestic carriers.

“Directed officials of DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737-MAX (being flown by domestic carriers),” Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation Minister Prabhu tweeted.

“Safety of the passengers is our utmost concern. Directed Secretary and DGCA to take appropriate action immediately.”

Earlier during the day, the civil aviation regulator said it will issue safety directives soon for Boeing 737-800 MAX operations. “The DGCA is reviewing safety issues post Boeing Ethiopian Airline B737-800MAX accident on March 10,” said a senior official.

“The DGCA will issue additional safety instructions,” the official said, adding the measures could be issued on Monday night or Tuesday morning.

In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate more than 15 Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft. They have also placed orders for 355 737-MAX aircraft. Of this, SpiceJet has 205 737-MAX aircraft on order and Jet Airways 150 planes of the same type.

In a statement about the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Boeing said: “A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and the US National Transportation Safety Board.”

The Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed on Sunday claiming the lives of all 149 passengers and 8 crew on board. The victims were of 35 nationalities, including four Indians.

Following the tragedy, Ethiopian Airlines grounded its entire B-737-8 MAX fleet on March 10. “Although we don’t yet know the cause of accident, we decided to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution,” Ethiopian Airlines said on its Twitter handle.

Aviation regulators in China and Indonesia have also grounded the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft fleet.

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