SpiceJet to resume Boeing 737 MAX flights from October 5

Boeing’s 737 MAX jetliner is set to fly again in India after two-and-a-half years, with planning to resume operations of the aircraft from October 5.
The no-frills airline’s pilots are currently being retrained on these planes, which were banned for flying by several countries including India in 2019 after two crashes blamed on computer glitches. Regulators have now started allowing resumption of operations with the narrow-body aircraft.

“The first batch of 20 SpiceJet pilots are doing their training now and will complete it by 30 September 2021. The training was held at the SpiceJet Training Academy in Gurgaon and at the Boeing Simulator facility in Noida in Uttar Pradesh,” said a senior airline executive, who did not want to be identified.

The executive explained that these pilots have undergone the “requalification syllabus”, just like pilots of other MAX operating airlines have across the globe.

“More pilots will continuously be trained over the coming weeks,” the executive said.

SpiceJet had more than 350 pilots who were trained or qualified on the MAX at the time when the aircraft was grounded. The pilots are being retrained at a full flight simulator set by Boeing for the 737 MAX in Noida and at a MAX Fixed Base Simulator at the SpiceJet Training Academy.

India had grounded these planes in March 2019 after a second Boeing 737 MAX, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed due to a faulty computer system, but gave the go-ahead last month to fly these planes. American and European aviation authorities have already allowed airlines to operate these planes after the computer systems were rectified and after fresh training of the pilots.

SpiceJet is the only Indian carrier which has the Boeing MAX in its fleet. In 2017, the airline had placed an order for 205 Boeing aircraft, including a large number of the 737 MAX. Jet Airways was the other Indian airline that had ordered the MAX, but the carrier is not operational and is going through a bankruptcy process.

ET had reported on September 20 that SpiceJet has received a waiver of lease rentals of about Rs 300 crore for four Boeing MAX aircraft for the period beginning March 2019, and that the airline expects to negotiate a waiver of about Rs 700 crore in lease rentals for the other nine MAX aircraft it currently has in the fleet.

The airline is also seeking discounts on future aircraft deliveries from Boeing, the aircraft maker.

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