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Thursday, 14 March, 2019, 11 : 35 AM [IST]

Today will be a challenging day for us: Aviation Secretary

As per a Money Control report by Nikita Vashisht, with the Indian aviation sector gearing up to deal with the fallout of the B737 Max aircraft crisis, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said yesterday that today (March 14) will be a challenging day. "As many as 30 to 35 flights could be affected," said Kharola.

In a meeting chaired by Kharola and attended by officials from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and airlines, including SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Silk Air, Air India, Air Asia, it was decided that SpiceJet will provide alternate flights to affected passengers even as the airline ensured to have "limited cancellation". "In case SpiceJet is unable to accommodate, other airlines must accommodate those passengers," Kharola said.

DGCA had ordered to ground B737 Max aircraft after nearly 20 countries, including China, Ethiopia, South Africa, UK, France and Germany decided to ground the planes owing to safety concerns.

DGCA chief BS Bhullar, said that government was engaging with Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on regular basis. "We have been taking inputs from them. There were certain issues raised by us but we didn't get much confidence from their statements... Thus, looking at safety of passengers, we decided to ground the planes," Bhullar said.

"Since the airspace for B737 Max is closed, we can't say about the future deliveries... The compensation would be decided by the airlines and Boeing," said Kharola.

Apart from ensuring limited cancellation, the airlines ensured the government of not hiking fares expectantly. "All airlines have promised that fares will be within limit," Kharola said adding that the government has started monitoring fares.

SpiceJet and Jet Airways have B737 Max planes in their fleet. While Jet already has its planes grounded due to financial crunch, SpiceJet grounded 14 of its planes after the government order. The last grounding was at 2.30 pm. (Source: Money Control)
 
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