Private airline SpiceJet on Wednesday announced that it has decided to cancel 14 flights after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation asked all carriers to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet. The directive came days after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed after takeoff from Addis Ababa airport, killing all 157 passengers on board.
“Consequent to the regulatory directive on the Boeing 737 Max, SpiceJet has already initiated grounding of its Max fleet,” SpiceJet Head of Communications Tushar Srivastava tweeted. “In order to cause least inconvenience to its passengers and also bring these aircraft to its maintenance base we expect to complete this exercise before 4 pm today.”
Srivastava said that SpiceJet has cancelled all its Boeing 737 Max 8 flights on Wednesday, and will operate additional flights on Thursday. He added that 64 out of 76 SpiceJet aircraft are currently in operation.
An unidentified DGCA official had earlier said all Boeing 737 Max planes will be grounded by 4 pm on Wednesday. Additionally, no such aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit the Indian airspace from 4 pm onward. SpiceJet has 12 such planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has five.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation will also hold a meeting with airlines at 4 pm to prepare a contingency plan as several flights have been cancelled.