New Delhi: All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft being operated by airline companies in India have been grounded and around 35 flights of SpiceJet would be cancelled Thursday consequently, Civil Aviation Secretary PS Kharola said Wednesday.
Kharola stated Thursday will be a ‘challenging’ day as ‘out of 520 odd flights that SpiceJet operates daily, close to 35 flights will have to be cancelled’.
SpiceJet has been most affected by the grounding of 737 Max 8 aircraft as it has 12 of them in its fleet. Jet Airways has not been affected as five of its aircraft of the same variety have already been grounded due to non-payment of dues to lessors.
“Tomorrow is going to be a real challenging day because today (Wednesday) the ban has come into effect only from the second half of the day… SpiceJet has assured us that they have taken up multiple plans. They have increased the utilisation of existing aircraft, so that the cancellations get limited,” Kharola stated.
“As of now, all aircraft of B737 Max have been grounded. The last flight (aircraft) to be grounded was today (Wednesday) around 2.30pm. The deadline was 4.00pm and before that all aircraft have been grounded,” Kharola added.
DGCA chief BS Bhullar said that lifting the ban on the 737 Max 8 aircraft will be based on inputs from various agencies and it will not happen soon. He added that DGCA will monitor fare levels regularly. He stated that a team from Boeing would also visit the country soon to inspect the aircraft.
In a statement Wednesday evening, SpiceJet said that a majority of passengers affected as a result of the cancellations have been accommodated on alternate flights. The budget carrier also said it is offering passengers the option of ‘a full refund’ and not asking them for extra charges for re-routing their destination.
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