The DGCA has placed the Boeing 737 fleets of Indian airlines under “heightened surveillance” after a China Eastern Airlines plane of the same brand crashed on Monday with 132 people on board, chief Arun Kumar said.
Three Indian airlines – SpiceJet, Vistara and Air India Express – have Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleet.
Asked what steps the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is taking after Monday’s crash, Kumar told PTI: “Flight safety is a serious matter and we are studying the situation closely. In the meantime, we are concentrating on enhanced surveillance of our 737 fleet.”
A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800, en route from Kunming to Guangzhou, crashed in Tengxian County in Wuzhou city.
China Eastern Airlines, one of China’s three major airlines, has grounded all its Boeing 737-800 aircraft after Monday’s crash.
There were no foreigners among the 132 people — 123 passengers and nine crew — aboard the Chinese passenger plane that crashed, official media reported.
Boeing 737 Max aircraft are an advanced version of Boeing 737-800 and both belong to the 737 series. US-based aircraft maker Boeing has not responded to PTI’s request for a statement.
In the six-month period between October 2018 and March 2019, two Boeing 737 Max aircraft were involved in accidents, killing a total of 346 people. Following these two accidents, the DGCA had banned Boeing 737 Max aircraft in India in March 2019.
After Boeing made the necessary software corrections to the satisfaction of the DGCA, the ban on the commercial operations of the aircraft was lifted in August last year after 27 months.
SpiceJet, Vistara and Air India Express have not responded to PTI’s request for a statement regarding the DGCA’s decision to place their 737 aircraft under enhanced surveillance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed their grief over the plane crash.
The US aviation regulator FAA said it is “aware of reports that a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed in China this morning. The agency stands ready to assist with investigation efforts if requested.”
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