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India: All Boeing 737 Max planes now grounded, government warns tomorrow will be 'real challenging day'

File photo: A SpiceJet plane. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 13, 2019, 05.30 PM (IST)

All Boeing 737 Max planes flying in the country have now been grounded. The ban came into effect at 4 pm on Wednesday after two recent crashes of the aircraft, one in Ethiopia this Sunday and one in October last year in Indonesia. 

"As of now, all flights of Boeing 737 Max have been grounded," Pradeep Singh Kharola, secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said on Wednesday.  

Kharola added that the flights were grounded "before the deadline of 4 pm", but he also warned that tomorrow will be "a real challenging day". 

"Today, SpiceJet cancelled 14 flights. It operates 500 plus flights daily and 14 were cancelled. They've been able to accommodate all passengers on their own. Tomorrow is going to be a real challenging day, as today grounding came into effect in second half of the day," Kharola said. 

He added that the government had had a "discussion with the airlines as to how they plan to reduce inconvenience to passengers". 

At the moment, SpiceJet is the only Indian airline flying the Boeing 737 Max 8. 

It has 12 of them. 

Jet Airlines has 5 of the Boeings, but they were already grounded before the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday. 

"SpiceJet says they've increased utilisation of existing aircraft," Kharola said on Wednesday. 

He said that "about 30-35 flights will get affected tomorrow" but that SpiceJet have "assured that no airport that has SpiceJet service will go unserviced." 

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He added that SpiceJet would set up a special cell to monitor passengers' complaints. 
 

Story highlights

'Tomorrow is going to be a real challenging day, as today grounding came into effect in second half of the day,' the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.