New Delhi: Close on the heels of a 737 MAX aircraft crashing in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people onboard, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued an advisory for all Indian carriers operating the B737 MAX.

As per the DGCA guidelines, only experienced pilots will operate the Boeing 737 MAX and the aircraft will not be released for commercial flying when
certain systems are inoperative, said the statement.

It also referred to the Ethiopia crash and said it was the second such accident in five months’ time.

Currently, SpiceJet has 12 of these planes and is the only Indian carrier operating this type of aircraft. Jet Airways has five of these planes but they are all grounded due to non-payment to vendors.

During long transit stays, the B737 MAX will be thoroughly checked to ensure that systems are working perfectly. These form a part of the safety measures issued by the DGCA to Indian carriers.

The DGCA instructions follow Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways grounding their B737 MAX and China and Indonesia asked their airlines to do the same.

“The minimum experience level of the crew operating B737 MAX aircraft to fly as pilot-in-command is 1000 hours and co-pilot is 500 hours on Boeing 737 NG aircraft type,” an official said. The DGCA has sent these measures to Boeing and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for seeking additional measures.

The DGCA statement, however, clarified, “These are interim safety measures taken with inputs available at this stage. DGCA will continue to closely monitor the situation and may impose/ take any other operational/ maintenance measures/ restrictions based on the information received from accident investigation agency/ FAA/ Boeing.”

The Ethiopia crash had come five months after Indonesia’s Lion Air B737 MAX crash last October that killed all 189 on board.