India’s aviation watchdog DGCA is expected to examine concerns about the use of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, according to a senior official. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is likely to speak to both Boeing and airlines like Jet Airways and SpiceJet, which operate the new plane model.
A Boeing 737 MAX plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa around 8.30 am on Sunday morning, killing all 157 on board. Four Indians were among the passengers killed.
The cause of the crash is still not clear. Reports suggest the Ethiopian jetliner appeared to climb and dive shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa and shortly before it crashed just 6 minutes later.
China’s aviation authorities have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets after the crash.
Jet Airways and SpiceJet are the two Indian carriers that operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. SpiceJet told NDTV that it is operating all 13 of its Max 8 planes. Jet Airways is yet to come out with a statement.
In a statement, Boeing said it would help with investigations into the Ethiopian crash. “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board,” said the plane-maker.
This is the second disaster involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the last few 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.
The 737 MAX 8 is a new model from the US aircraft manufacturer’s best-selling 737, which has been operating since 1967. More than 350 Boeing 737-MAX planes have been delivered and more than 5,000 have been ordered worldwide since 2017.
Boeing has been criticised for not informing airlines in detail about how to override problematic software on the flight control system of the 737 Max aircraft.
The new software is part of an automatic system designed to ensure that the aircraft does not stall; in other words, lose it ability to remain flying.
Boeing was quoted by reports as saying that the 737 MAX 8 was “as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies.”