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India plans to conduct its own checks on Boeing 737 Max Jets

India plans to start its own checks even if U.S. Federal Aviation Administration declares the aircraft fit to fly.

Updated: Sep 13, 2019, 07.15 PM IST

SpiceJet Ltd., India’s second-biggest airline, is one of the biggest buyers of the plane.

By Anurag Kotoky

India plans to conduct its own checks and demand simulator training for all pilots before Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jets can fly in the country again, even if the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration were to clear the grounded jets, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

India plans to start its own assessment only after the FAA, the certifying authority of U.S.-made jets, declares the aircraft fit to fly, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation doesn’t expect Boeing’s best-selling plane to fly in the country before next year, according to the person, who’s directly involved in the nation’s decision-making process involving plane safety.

India would join the European Aviation Safety Agency, which is planning to send its own pilots to the U.S. to conduct flight tests of the 737 Max, in making its own determination after two fatal crashes involving a malfunctioning flight-control system prompted regulators around the world to ground it. Boeing warned this week that the jet may return on a “phased” timetable if regulators worldwide make decisions at their own pace, without following the U.S.’s lead.

A representative for India’s civil aviation ministry didn’t immediately respond to a text message. An India-based representative for Boeing didn’t immediately answer an email seeking comment.

SpiceJet Ltd., India’s second-biggest airline, is one of the biggest buyers of the plane, with as many as 205 on order, and Jet Airways India Ltd. has also ordered more than 200 of these jets -- before it stopped flying in April after running out of cash.

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