In 2019, the DGCA had banned the operations of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 after two fatal accidents involving Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
More than two years after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) banned the Boeing 737 MAX airplanes following a series of fatal crashes, the aviation regulator has allowed Indian airline operators to fly the aircraft.
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The DGCA on August 26, in an order, said that Boeing 737 MAX airplanes will be allowed in Indian airspace,
On March 13, 2019, the regulator had banned the operations of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 after two fatal accidents involving Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
The DGCA order comes after the US regulators declared the aircraft fit for flying again in November 2020. Their European counterparts followed suit and rescinded the ban soon after. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also issued the same directorate on February 17, 2021.
The lifting of the ban by the Indian regulator comes as a huge relief for the Chicago-based airplane manufacturer. Now, China remains the only large aviation market that is yet to lift the ban on 737s.
Since 2018, a total of 346 people were killed in two crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. Following the crashes of A Lion Air 737 MAX on Oct 29, 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX on March 10, 2019, Boeing’s profits were severely slashed, lawsuits were filed and the US Department of Justice initiated an active criminal probe against the aerospace giant.
The 737 MAX gains certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also grants the certification to Boeing shortly after.
A Lion Air 737 MAX plane crashes in Indonesia off the coast of Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
No action was taken against Boeing at this stage but in November, both the FAA and the company said that they are evaluating the need for software and design changes.
The Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash killed all 157 people on board. Immediately after this crash on March 13, the FAA along with global aviation regulators grounded the 737 MAX, after concluding that there are similarities between the two fatal crashes.
In April, Boeing announced that it will cut its 737 productions by 20 percent. It also halted share buybacks and completely abandoned its 2019 financial outlook.
In July, Boeing posted its largest-ever quarterly loss with the issues around 737 costing the company nearly $1 billion.
By December, they stopped the production of 737, which was its biggest assembly-line halt in 20 years.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive on November 18, 2020, which allowed for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes to return to service following several tests.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also rescinded the ban on February 17, 2021.
DGCA said in its order, “World-wide 17 regulators have permitted operation of Boeing 737 Max airplanes. A sizeable number of airlines (34) with B737 airplane (345) are operating currently and have attained 1,22,824 departures with 2,89,537 cumulative hours since the ungrounding from December 9, 2020, with no untoward reporting.”