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DGCA bars 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 MAX until re-trained

DGCA bars 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 MAX until re-trained

DGCA bars 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 MAX until re-trained
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By Anu Sharma  Apr 13, 2022 10:12:11 AM IST (Updated)

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday barred 90 pilots from flying Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until they were re-trained. The Indian aviation regulator has asked SpiceJet to send the 90 pilots for MAX training again, said a government official.

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The action was taken after finding them not properly trained at Noida simulator facility, the official added. "For the moment, we have barred these pilots from flying the Max and they have to retrain successfully for flying the aircraft," DGCA chief Arun Kumar had said in a statement.
The 90 pilots have to undergo training again to the satisfaction of the DGCA.
A SpiceJet spokesperson said, "SpiceJet has 650 pilots trained on Boeing 737 MAX. DGCA had an observation on the training profile followed for 90 Pilots, and therefore as per the advise of DGCA, SpiceJet has restricted 90 pilots from operating MAX aircraft, until these pilots undergo re-training to the satisfaction of DGCA. These pilots continue to remain available for other Boeing 737 aircraft."
The official said the restriction does not impact the operations of MAX aircraft. SpiceJet operates 11 MAX aircraft and about 144 pilots are required to operate these 11 aircraft. Of the 650 trained pilots on the MAX, 560 continue to remain available, which is much more than the current requirement, the spokesperson added.
The Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded in India by the DGCA on March 13, 2019, three days after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max aircraft near Addis Ababa, which killed 157 people, including four Indians.
The ban on the planes was lifted in August last year after the DGCA was satisfied with US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing's necessary software rectifications in the aircraft. Proper pilot training on the simulator was also among the conditions of the DGCA for removing the ban on the Max planes after a span of 27 months.
SpiceJet is the only Indian airline that has the Max aircraft in its fleet. Akasa Air, the new airline backed by ace investor Jhunjhunwala and aviation veterans Aditya Ghosh and Vinay Dube, had in November last year signed a deal with Boeing to purchase 72 Max planes. Akasa Air has not got any of these planes as yet.
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