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India recertifies the Boeing B737MAX after 2.5 years of grounding

India has finally recertified the Boeing B737MAX after 2.5 years of grounding. The decision clears the aircraft for a full return to service.

Green light

India has completely rescinded its order banning flights with the Boeing B737MAX-8 and B737MAX-9. The decision from the Indian government comes after a partial relaxation for foreign carriers earlier this year that allowed them to use the airspace using the B737MAX.

It has now been almost three quarters of a year since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reversed its order grounding all Boeing B737MAX aircraft worldwide. While the resumption of B737MAX operations was slow, it is now gathering pace. 175 out of 195 countries have now given the green light to the aircraft.

The Directorate General of Commercial Aviation (DGCA), the aviation regulator of India, has issued an order superseding the last update provided in April. The regulator has rescinded its grounding of the Boeing B737MAX order, first published on 13th March 2019.

Just like many other aviation authorities, India mandates that changes are enacted on individual aircraft before their reactivation. India is using the European Aviation Safety Agency’s rules that were issued in February rather than creating its own set of changes.

A Boeing spokesperson told Simple Flying:

The DGCA’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in India. Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to return the airplane to service worldwide.

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Paving the way for SpiceJet

SpiceJet yesterday announced that it has entered into a settlement with Avolon, a major lessor of Boeing’s B737Max aircraft, thereby paving the way for the airline’s B737Max aircraft to start to return to service.

The Indian low-cost carrier states that it expects to start operations of B737MAX aircraft by the end of September 2021.

Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, said:

I am delighted to share that our 737 Max will be back in the air soon. As India emerges from Covid and air traffic picks up again, the Max aircraft will play a major role in our future expansion. With a better and a more efficient fleet back in operation we expect a significant reduction in our operating costs improving our bottom line.

Presently, SpiceJet is the only Indian airline having the B737MAX in its fleet. The Delhi-based carrier has 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with another 129 on order according to the latest order book from Boeing. In the past, Jet Airways has also operated the aircraft type but the airline has since suspended operations, although the airline may be making a comeback in the Indian skies.

Indian Startup Ultra low-cost airline Akasa Air is also in talks with Boeing to order up to 100 B737MAX.

MAX is slowly returning to the skies

The Boeing B737MAX return is now slowly gathering pace. According to data from ch-aviation.com, 34 carriers are now operating the aircraft, with 344 of the world’s B737MAX aircraft now listed as active. A further 209 aircraft are listed as inactive, belonging to 41 airlines. Furthermore, 4070 aircraft are presently on order, with such orders attributed to 74 carriers.

India has already relaxed its ban back in April 2021 for foreign carriers. This allowed foreign registered aircraft to be able to leave Indian airports if they were stuck there and for other aircraft to fly over the country’s airspace. The move had been requested by UAE carrier flydubai.

Only two major countries retain their Boeing B737MAX grounding for the time being. One of these is China, although earlier this month, Boeing flew its B737MAX out to China to conduct recertification flights. Russia has also not recertified the aircraft type.

Featured image by Boeing

What do you think of India recertifying the B737MAX? Will you fly on the B737MAX if you get a chance? Let me know in the comments section below.

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