India’s aviation regulator bars 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing MAX planes

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SpiceJet, which currently operates 11 MAX aircraft and has 144 pilots to fly them, said the pilots have been restricted from operating MAX jets until they undergo retraining to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) satisfaction.

These pilots continue to remain available for other Boeing 737 aircraft and the restriction does not impact the operations of MAX aircraft whatsoever, a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

The airline is Boeing’s biggest customer in the South Asian nation for MAX planes. The planemaker did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The pilots need to retrain successfully and we will take strict action against those found responsible for the lapse, Arun Kumar, the directorate general at India’s air safety watchdog DGCA, said.

The regulator had cleared in August the 737 MAX aircraft to fly after a near two-and-a-half-year regulatory grounding following two fatal crashes in 2019.

Boeing’s 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two crashes in five months killed 346 people, plunging the planemaker into a financial crisis, since compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.