SpiceJet on Wednesday cancelled 14 flights after the DGCA issued an order to ground all Boeing 737-MAX planes and banned the planes from the Indian airspace from 4pm onwards till further decision.
In a statement, SpiceJet said that it had already initiated grounding of its Max fleet.
“SpiceJet has presently announced cancellation of 14 flights for today and will be operating additional flights from tomorrow,” SpiceJet said in its statement.
The civil aviation ministry has called an emergency meeting of all the airlines at 4 pm to discuss the situation where the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft are to fly back to India or to go to the maintenance facility for parking.
At present, only two airlines fly the Boeing 737-MAX in India: SpiceJet and Jet Airways.
In its statement, SpiceJet said that of the 76 planes in its fleet, 64 aircraft are in operations. “We are confident of minimizing the inconvenience to our passengers and attain normalcy in our operations.
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 in its statement.
Early on Wednesday morning, the DGCA issued a 4pm deadline for all Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft in India to be grounded. The DGCA order comes barely three days after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed minutes after taking off killing all 157 people on board.
On Tuesday, the ministry of civil aviation tweeted saying, “DGCA has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737-MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.”
While SpiceJet has grounded its fleet of 12 Boeing 737-MAX 8 planes, Jet Airways has five of these aircraft which are already grounded as it negotiates a financial crunch.
“Jet Airways has five B737 MAX in its fleet but is currently not flying any of these aircraft. The airline is in contact with the manufacturer and the regulator in context of this development, and remains committed to implementing all directives or advisories that may be published by those authorized,” said a spokesperson for Jet airways.