Announcing that the all B737 aircrafts operating in India have been grounded, Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola on Wednesday informed that the discussions were held between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and all airlines to minimise inconvenience caused to passengers. Speaking to media-persons after the meeting, Kharola said, "All flights of Boeing B737 Max have been grounded. Last flight was grounded around 2:30 PM. We had held a meeting with concerned airlines to ensure that safety instructions of DGCA are followed and also to ensure that because of pulling out of about 12 Aircraft of this make, passengers should not be unconvinced."
"Airlines have ensured that the grounding of 12 aircraft will not significantly impact the passengers and they have drawn a very elaborate plan," he added. Elaborating on the cancellations, Kharola said that the while 14 flights were cancelled today, tomorrow will be a more challenging day.
"Today Spicejet cancelled just 14 flights out of about 500 flights it operates every day. Spice Jet has said that they have increased the utilisation of existing aircraft so that cancellations get limited. With all the planned measures, tomorrow out of about 520 flights which Spice jet flies every day about 30-35 flights will get affected," he said. He also said that instructions have been issued to the concerned airlines to make sure that no sector should be left uncatered owing to cancellation.
"We have told them that while cancelling flights it must be taken care that connectivity to any place is not affected and cancellation should take place on those sectors which has multiple flights. They have assured that no airport that has SpiceJet service will go un-serviced. They will be setting up a special cell to monitor the passengers' complaints," said Kharola. DGCA chief B S Bhullar also said requests have been made with all the airlines to not to surge pricing and same will be monitored by DGCA.
"We have requested all airlines that fares should be kept roughly at the same level as it was before. DGCA will also be monitoring the fair trade," he said. Bhullar also informed that a NOTAM has been issued stating that no Max aircraft will be allowed to overfly, come to India or leave from India today onwards.
DGCA today announced that all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in India should be grounded by 4 pm today.