New Delhi: Following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in Ethiopia on Sunday that killed all 157 people on board including four Indians, the Indian aviation regulator DGCA on Monday undertook a safety assessment of the aircraft of the same make used by Indian carriers and issued interim safety measures applicable from Tuesday.
The safety review coincides with reports that authorities in China, Indonesia and Ethopia have grounded all such aircraft. Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft are currently being used by SpiceJet (12) and Jet Airways (5).
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has promised all help and assistance to the bereaved families of the four Indian victims in the Ethiopian crash. She spoke to the family members of Indian nationals identified as Bhaskar Vaidya, Hansini Vaidya, N. Manisha and Shikha Garg.
Following the crash, the DGCA on Monday held a review meeting on the functioning of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft of the two Indian carriers where it was “observed that the ‘daily defect’ and ‘daily incident’ reports contained defects of routine nature and no significant concern were observed”. This means that there is no move in India to ground these planes as of now.
While issuing fresh technical guidelines on aspects such as dual autopilot, yaw damper system, spoiler systems and angle of attack (AOA) sensor, the DGCA said that “the minimum experience level of crew operating Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to fly as pilot-in-command (PIC) is 1,000 hours and co-pilot is 500 hours on Boeing 737 NG aircraft type”.
Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu while ordering a safety review of the aircraft said, “Safety of the passengers is our utmost concern. I have directed secretary and DGCA to take appropriate action immediately.”
This is the second time in five months that aircraft of this specific make has crashed, sparking global alarm. A Boeing 737Max 8 aircraft operated by carrier Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in October last year killing 189 people on board. Following that accident, the DGCA had already taken several steps last year to ensure safety.