Simulators will help train the pilots, a vital factor in getting the grounded Max fleet back to service
US aircraft manufacturer Boeing expects to "more than double" the 737 Max simulators by the end of 2019 as it prepares to bring back the grounded fleet back to service.
At present, the company has 187, 737 Max simulators spread across the world, including in London, Miami and Singapore.
Airlines across the world, including in India, grounded their fleet of the Max aircraft after twin crashes - Indonesia’a Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines - had resulted in more than 300 passengers losing lives.
Talking to media persons in Mumbai on November 7, senior Boeing officials said that the company was still awaiting instructions from regulators before deciding on pilots training on the simulators.
The company said it had given software updates for the 737 Max simulators, especially for the controversial maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (CMAS), said to be the cause behind the two crashes.
For India, Singapore is the closest where the simulators are. Boeing India President Salil Gupte said that no call had been taken on training of pilots in India . He added that Boeing had 5 NG simulators in India. Boeing 737 NG is the predecessor to the Max aircraft.
He did not comment on having a simulator in India for the Max aircraft.
Training of pilots is an integral part of Boeing's efforts to get back the grounded Max aircraft back into service. Boeing officials earlier said that they hoped to bring back the planes to service by March 2020.
Darren Hulst, Boeing’s deputy VP (commercial marketing), said in Mumbai that the updated Max aircraft had done over 800 test flights, amounting to over 1500 flying hours. "We are in touch with all the regulators, including India's DGCA," he said.
Boeing needs to get clearance from all the regulators to again start flying the plane.
Forecast for India
Hulst also shared Boeing's forecast for the India market, which the company had estimated to need 2,380 new commercial airplanes, valued at $330 billion "to handle the growing demand for air travel over the next 20 years."
The company added: "To operate and maintain the expanding fleet, operators are expected to spend USD440 billion on aviation services, including ground, station and cargo operations, along with maintenance and engineering."
In India, single-aisles will lead the demand for airplanes - comprising 87 percent of the demand - to meet requirements for domestic network connections and service to new airports.
"Widebody airplanes will make up 13 percent of new airplane deliveries, helping to enable new long-range flights," Boeing said in a statement.Low-cost carriers continue to lead in the Indian market, having expanded six-fold in the last decade, it added.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.