Boeing 737 MAX 8 Grounded: All You Need To Know

India's grounding of these aircraft comes on the heels of the second crash globally of this aircraft since October
Boeing 737 max 8 plane
Boeing 737 Max 8. Pic courtesy: Boeing

India joined a host of countries around the world to impose a ban on Boeing's 737 MAX 8 when the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday grounded the aircraft variant from Indian skies.

These restrictions come in the aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines' crash that killed all 157 persons on board on March 10, 2019.

The airline was operating a Boeing 737 MAX 8 from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Nairobi (Kenya) and crashed after takeoff. It is the second such crash in
less than six months after a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

The restrictions in India are expected to stay in place until more clarity emerges on the cause of the crash.

Here's all you need to know about the ban.

What does the ban include?

The DCGA announced its ban in two stages. On March 12, the DCGA grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 variants belonging to Indian carriers, as communicated through the Ministry of Civil Aviation through its official Twitter handle.

But at around 10:30 AM on March 13, the DCGA took the ban a step further and disallowed any Boeing 737 MAX 8 from even transiting Indian airspace from 4 PM onward on March 13. A few hours were granted as to provide a temporal gap for international flight operators to reach their destinations.

The DGCA's initial reaction to the crash was not as extreme. On the morning of March 11, hours after the crash, DCGA simply issued a set of technical guidelines that operators in India would have to follow for their Boeing 737 MAX 8 to ply.

This was communicated through a press release, which can be read here.

This ban is expected to affect two airlines in India:

  • SpiceJet - operating the largest fleet of this aircraft variant in India with 12 aircraft.
  • Jet Airways - operating 5 aircraft of this variant

These bans are estimated to hit 100 flights and 17,000 flyers in India.

Share prices of SpiceJet and Jet Airways fell 6 percent and 2 percent respectively on Wednesday morning but recovered to end the day lower by around 2 percent. Meanwhile, Indigo's stock price closed 2 percent higher on Wednesday.

India joins the European Union, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the UAE, Turkey, and Kuwait in grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft; an action first taken by China. (Source: Bloomberg)

In a few countries like Ethiopia, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa, airlines themselves have prohibited the use of this aircraft.

The United States and Canada stand as the only two major countries still permitting the use of these aircraft.

Boeing 737 MAX air crashes: Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air

The global groundings of the Boeing aircraft comes after Ethiopian Airline crash. But, the Ethiopian Airline crash is the second such mishap in 6 months.

The first crash in involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 took place in Indonesia on October 28, 2018, when Lion Air operated the aircraft on a domestic route from Jakarta to Pangal Pinang. The aircraft crashed just 12 minutes after takeoff, crashing into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers and crew onboard.

A preliminary report of the Indonesian transportation regulatory authority KNKT found that the aircraft had technical faults two days before the flight operated, but was certified to fly by the engineering staff on the ground.

In Ethiopia, the black box of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight has been recovered and is currently being examined.

The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam told CNN that pilot reported "flight control problems."

Boeing's Statement

Following the crash, Boeing expressed its sympathies in a statement. The aircraft manufacturer said it would send a technical team to the crash site to provide assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and US National Transportation Safety Board.

However, on March 12, an updated statement from Boeing stated that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) of the United States did not order any further action, and thus would not be issuing any directives or guidance to operators using the Max 737 aircraft.

They below tweet consists of the official statement of the FAA on the Boeing aircraft. They have said that neither have they picked up any systemic issues nor have they received any data from foreign aviation authorities to necessitate the grounding of the Boeing aircraft. They remain actively seized of the matter and shall take action if necessary.

Shares of Boeing have also taken a beating on Wall Street this week.

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