Three flights from Hyderabad were cancelled by SpiceJet at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RJIA) on Wednesday, which were headed to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bangalore after orders from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ground all Boeing 737-MAX flights.
As there was mild chaos at the airport following the announcement, the airlines in a statement, said that some passengers were accommodated in other flights while others would be refunded.
"A majority of passengers affected as a result of these cancellations have been accommodated by SpiceJet on alternate flights. Additionally, the airline is also offering passengers the option of a full refund, changing the flight or date of travel, or even change of destination (to nearest alternate airport); all this without any cancellation charges or any fare difference," a spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Following a global trend of grounding Boeing 737-MAX aircraft, India finally suspended the plane's operations and over-flight permissions on Wednesday evening, even as hundreds of passengers were affected at airports.
The government tried to protect passengers from the double whammy of high fares and reduced flight operations. Advising airlines not to go in for predatory pricing, it said that it will be monitoring key sectors to detect any high fares.
Briefing the media in New Delhi, after a meeting between Ministry of Civil Aviation officials with airlines' representatives, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that all flights operated on Boeing 737-MAX have been grounded before 4 pm. Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted: "No B737 MAX aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit the Indian airspace effective 1600 hours."
In India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways operate 17 Boeing 737-MAX aircraft -- Spice (12) and Jet (5) -- though the latter's fleet was already grounded due to various reasons.
Kharola said that SpiceJet cancelled 14 flights, out of the 500-plus flights it operates on a daily basis. The airline was able to take care of passengers on its cancelled flights.
The DGCA has said that the Boeing 737 MAX planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.
With the latest action, India joined the UK, Singapore, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Australia and the EU nations in the grounding.
The global grounding of the Boeing fleet follows the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737-MAX flight on Sunday killing all 157 people on board.