SpiceJet Defends 737 MAX Amid Grounding, Calls It "Highly Sophisticated"

SpiceJet jumped to the defence of the new model of the US aircraft manufacturer's best-selling 737 saying, "The Boeing 737 MAX is a highly sophisticated aircraft."

SpiceJet Defends 737 MAX Amid Grounding, Calls It 'Highly Sophisticated'

SpiceJet said it had implemented the additional "precautionary measures"

New Delhi:

With many countries grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8 post the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the aircraft has found a supporter in India's SpiceJet.

The low-cost airline jumped to the defence of the new model of the US aircraft manufacturer's best-selling 737 saying, "The Boeing 737 MAX is a highly sophisticated aircraft."

"It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours globally and some of the world's largest airlines are flying this aircraft," it said in a statement.

SpiceJet has 13 of the model 8 variant in its 75-strong fleet and told NDTV on Monday that it is operating all of them. Jet Airways, which has five such aircraft, said it is not flying any of them currently.

India's aviation regulator DGCA had on Monday ordered additional maintenance checks for the planes but fell short of ordering their grounding. It also directed Indian carriers to ensure that pilots have 1,000 hours and co-pilots 500 hours of flying experience on the 737 MAX 8.

SpiceJet said it had implemented the additional "precautionary measures" and was "actively engaged" with Boeing and the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

South Korea, Singapore, China, and Indonesia have grounded the jets following the second fatal accident of the aircraft in just five months. In October, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital of Jakarta 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 onboard. On Sunday an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board, which included four Indians.

Malaysia has suspended all Boeing 737 MAX operations flying to and from the Asian nation and from crossing its air space until further notice, the Malaysian civil aviation authority said.

Australia also barred all 737 MAX planes from its airspace while US authorities ordered Boeing to improve anti-stalling software and the model's manoeuvring system. Only one Fijian airline is affected by the Australian ban.

Several airlines, however, have said they are not cancelling MAX 8 flights, while US carriers appear to maintain confidence in the manufacturer.

Boeing was quoted by reports as saying that the 737 MAX 8 was "as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies."

US regulators on Monday ordered Boeing to make urgent improvements to the best-selling jet involved in a deadly Ethiopia plane crash -- but ruled out grounding the fleet as investigators worked to piece together the aircraft's final moments.

SpiceJet was relaunched as a low-cost carrier in 2004 after being bought by industrialist Ajay Singh. It is now India's number four airline.

(With inputs from agencies)

Listen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com