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India days away from recertifying 737 MAX, reports say

written by Isabella Richards | August 13, 2021

An artist rendition of the Boeing 737 MAX. (Source: Australian Aviation archives)

India is days away from re-certifying Boeing’s 737 MAX jets to resume flights within the country, marking over two years since its groundings began.

According to Bloomberg, an anonymous source said India was satisfied with the aircraft’s performance since last November when it was cleared to fly in the US, Europe and other nations.

Boeing has met India’s standards and requirements, which entailed a 737 MAX simulator being used in the south Asian nation before any decisions were made, according to the source.

This will mark a long-awaited decision, as India is the last remaining major market yet to approve of the aircraft’s return to the skies.

China was beside India in taking a longer approach, but a test flight this week from Shanghai to Pudong’s international airport occurred, moving the jet’s certification in China one step closer.

Rajeev Jain, a spokesman for India’s aviation ministry said a decision of returning the MAX is yet to be confirmed, despite talks with sources who are familiar with the matter.

For almost two years, Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft were grounded following two crashes within months in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing 346 passengers.


Last November, the jets gained re-certification in the US and are slowly tapping into international airspace.

India is one of Boeing’s vital markets, and the Biden administration has pushed a further tightening of a relationship with the country.

Maria Laine, vice president of international sales and industrial partnerships at Boeing  said in an interview on Business Standard Boeing has a “strong footprint in India” through continuous investments.

“We have trusted relationships with our customers and partners and are committed to an enduring, long-term view of India now and in the future,” Laine said.

Bloomberg noted Boeing forecasts that airlines in India will acquire more than 2,200 aircraft in the next 20 years’ worth almost US$320 billion.

The move to recertify the jets will come months after the aviation watchdog, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), relaxed its rules for the 737 MAX to fly in Indian airspace in April.

While this was a significant move, aircraft were still required to attain regulatory exemptions from the State of Registry before flying.

Yesterday, World of Aviation reported Boeing is in discussions with new low-cost Indian carrier to provide up to 80 of its 737 MAX aircraft for its fleet.

Asaka Air, the budget airline backed by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala – known as ‘India’s Warren Buffet’ – has invested around US$35 million into the carrier, waiting for the Indian aviation ministry’s approval.

Jhunjhunwala expects to operate a fleet of over 70 aircraft in the next four years, and an order for that many 737 MAX-8 jets would be worth around US$8.5 billion.

SpiceJet remains as Boeing’s last 737 MAX operator in India, with over 100 on firm order and 13 parked due to the groundings.


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