With all Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft set to stop operating in Indian airspace from 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the Civil Aviation Ministry has called a meeting of various airlines to keep a check on fares from spiralling.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) late on Tuesday ordered "grounding the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately" after aviation authorities across the globe, with the notable exception of the US, decided to ground the particular aircraft following Sunday's crash of an Ethiopian Airlines' aircraft of the same model killing all 157 people on board.
"While passenger safety is a zero-tolerance issue, efforts are already on to minimise the impact on passenger movement as their convenience is important," Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted on Tuesday.
Sources here said that the Minister has directed officials to prepare a contingency plan to avoid inconvenience to passengers.
DGCA said that these planes would be grounded until appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations. “As always, passenger safety remains our top priority. We continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety,” it Tweeted late on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, it also said in a statement that B737Max operations will stop from/to all Indian airports. Additionally, no B737 Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit the Indian airspace effective 1600hrs Indian time or 1030 UTC.
The time line is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities and international flights can reach their destinations, the DGCA said.
In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate 17 Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft. While SpiceJet has 12 aircraft, Jet has five planes of this type.
On Tuesday, the UK joined Singapore, Australia and a number of other countries in banning Boeing 737 Max planes from operating in or over its airspace.