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US regulator rescinds ban, clears runway for Boeing Max 737's return

DGCA says will examine Federal Aviation Administration's order and then take a call

United States | Boeing 737 MAX | DGCA

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai 

An employee walks past a Boeing 737 Max aircraft seen parked at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton. Photo: Reuters
Boeing has already set up a 737 Max simulator a training centre in Noida which help Indian pilots familiarise with the enhanced training norms. Photo: Reuters

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will examine the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) order rescinding the ban on aircraft and will take appropriate action on the issue.

“We will study the order. There are safety issues involved. We will take appropriate call in the matter after an examination,” Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Kumar said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order that paves the way for to return to commercial service.

SpiceJet is the only operator in India, with 13 aircraft of the type in its fleet and a total of 205 planes on order. The 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded globally after 346 passengers perished in twin air crashes in 2018 and 2019. In its second quarter result announcement, SpiceJet said it expects the aircraft to return to service in January-March quarter of 2021. However, it did not comment on Wednesday's FAA decision.

The US aviation regulator on Wednesday issued an airworthiness directive specifying design changes that must be made before the aircraft returns to service and has notified training requirements for pilots.

Boeing has already set up a 737 MAX simulator at its training centre in Noida which help the Indian pilots familiarise with the enhanced training norms.

Changes have also been proposed to flight control software to protect against malfunction of Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) of the aircraft. The MCAS system has been blamed for the two crashes.

The US regulator said that had parked the planes would need to take required maintenance actions to prepare the aircraft to fly again.

"These actions do not allow the MAX to return immediately to the skies," FAA said in its order.

"The design and certification of this aircraft included an unprecedented level of collaborative and independent reviews by aviation authorities around the world. Those regulators have indicated that Boeing’s design changes, together with the changes to crew procedures and training enhancements, will give them the confidence to validate the aircraft as safe to fly in their respective countries and regions. Following the return to service, the FAA will continue to work closely with our foreign civil aviation partners to evaluate any potential additional enhancements for the aircraft," the FAA added.

"The FAA's directive is an important milestone," said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide," he said.

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First Published: Wed, November 18 2020. 21:08 IST