New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation called an emergency meeting of all airlines in Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan on Wednesday evening. Following the meeting, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that as of now, all Boeing 737 MAX flights had been grounded. “We had a discussion with the airlines as to how they plan to reduce inconvenience to the passengers,” he added.
The emergency meeting followed in the wake of action being taken against Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after one such plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa, killing 157 passengers, including four Indians. This happened a few months after a Boeing 737 Max aircraft of Lion Air went down over Java Sea.
Meanwhile, Kharola said that SpiceJet had cancelled 14 flights. The airline operates 500 flights daily. “They have been able to accommodate all passengers on their own. Tomorrow is going to be a really challenging day, as today grounding came into effect in the second half of the day.”
As for how SpiceJet would be able to cope with the situation, Kharola said, “They have increased the utilisation of existing aircraft. About 30-35 flights will get affected tomorrow. They’ve assured that no airport that has SpiceJet service will go unserviced. They’ll be setting up a special cell to monitor the passengers’ complaints.”
The airline also reportedly issued a statemetn saying, “SpiceJet has presently announced the cancellation of 14 flights for today and will be operating additional flights from tomorrow.” “We are confident of minimising the inconvenience to our passengers and attain normalcy in our operations,” it said.
“While a majority of passengers affected as a result of these cancellations have been accommodated by SpiceJet on alternate flights, rest have been offered a full-refund,” it said.
Meanwhile, Vistara has been authorised to mount international flights now, said Kharola.