DGCA wants all 737 Max pilots to be given simulator training to ensure passenger safety
New Delhi, Sep 13: Aviation regulator DGCA has asked the airlines and Boeing to ensure that pilots who are qualified to fly 737 Max planes in India are given simulator training in order to ensure passenger safety once the aircraft is back in operation, said a senior official.
On March 13 this year, all Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded in India by the regulator after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane on March 10 near Addis Ababa, wherein 157 people were killed, including four Indians.
A senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told PTI that the regulator will "conduct its own checks once the US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gives the green light to the 737 Max plane".
On March 13, SpiceJet had to ground 12 aircraft, forcing it to cancel significant number of flights on that day as well as on March 14. Jet Airways also had five 737 Max planes in its fleet but they were already grounded as on March 13 due to non-payment of dues to lessors. The full-service carrier had shut down its operations on April 17 due to lack of funds.
In March itself, the 737 Max plane was banned by the regulators of almost all the countries around the world. Another DGCA official told PTI that that it has asked the airlines and Boeing to "ensure that simulator training is given to all pilots who are qualified to fly 737 Max plane in India so as to ensure passenger safety".
The March 10 incident near Addis Ababa was the second one in a period of five months, as in October last year a 737 Max plane operated by Lion Air had crashed in Indonesia killing 180 people.
On 737 Max plane, European Union's Aviation Safety Agency has expressed concerns about the requirements of pilot training as well as on malfunction of "angle of attack" system, which triggered an anti-stall system linked to the aforementioned two crashes. Boeing is addressing the concerns expressed by European Union. The aircraft manufacturer is currently addressing similar concerns expressed by the US aviation regulator.