The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has lifted the ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, over two years after it was grounded, as per a statement issued by the aviation sector regulator on August 26.
The rescission of ban "enables operation of Boeing company model 737-8 and Boeing company model 737-9 airplanes only upon satisfaction of applicable requirements for return to service", the DGCA order stated.
The decision is likely to offer relief to domestic carrier SpiceJet, which has 13 Boeing Max aircraft in its fleet.
The DGCA, in its order which revokes the ban imposed in March 2019, cited the clearance granted to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by the regulators in the United States and Europe.
"Based on design changes by M/s Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on November 18, 2020, mandating actions for 737 Max airplanes return to service (RTS)," it said, referring to the resumption of the aircraft's use by American carriers since December last year.
"Subsequently, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also issued its own AD on February 17, 2021 which has been mandated by DGCA for compliance on Indian registered fleet," it added.
The order further added that worldwide 17 regulators have permitted operation of Boeing 737 Max airplane.
"A sizeable number airlines (34) with B737 Max airplane (345) are operating currently and have attained 1,22,824 total departures with 2,89,537 cumulative hours since the ungrounding from 9th December 2020," the DGCA said, adding that no untoward incident was reported in this period.
Notably, the ban on 737 MAX aircraft was imposed by several aviation regulators around the world after two fatal accidents were reported. The first crash, of Lion Air Flight 610, was reported in Indonesia on October 29, 2018. A total of 189 persons were killed.
The second fatal accident involving the aircraft was reported on March 10, 2019, when the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Ethiopia's Bishoftu, leading to the death of 157 people. Following this accident, most of the aviation regulators including the DGCA prohibited 737 MAX's used by their carriers.While a number of regulators have rescinded the ban, China is the only major aviation market which is yet to allow the use of 737 MAX aircraft by the airlines operating in the country.