The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday issued an order allowing the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, banned in India since 2019, to fly in the country again.

The aviation regulator had in 2019 grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes in India following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane on March 10 near Addis Ababa, wherein 157 people were killed, including four Indians. The March 10, 2019, incident near Addis Ababa was the second such incident in a period of five months, as in October 2018 a 737 Max plane operated by Lion Air had crashed in Indonesia killing 180 people.

“Based on design changes by M/s Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on November 18, 2020, mandating actions for 737 Max airplanes return to service (RTS). Concurrent with the issuance of the AD, FAA rescinded the Emergency Order of Prohibition. Subsequently, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also issued its own AD on February 17, 2021 which has been mandated by DGCA for compliance on Indian registered fleet,” the DGCA order said.

“Post issuance of AD by FAA/ EASA and rescinding of the grounding order by FAA, DGCA has been closely monitoring the global trend with regard to un-grounding of Boeing Company Model 737-8 and Boeing Company Model 737-9 airplanes. World-wide 17 regulators have permitted operation of Boeing 737 Max airplane. A sizeable number airlines (34) with B737 Max airplane (345) are operating currently and have attained 1,22,824 total departures with 2,89,537 cumulative hours since the un-grounding from 9th December 2020, with no untoward reporting,” it added.

In April 2021, the DGCA issued an order allowing foreign-registered Boeing 737 Max aircraft to fly over India after taking its permission.

The European Union's Aviation Safety Agency had expressed concerns about the requirements of pilot training as well as on malfunction of “angle of attack” system in connection with the aircraft, which triggered an anti-stall system linked to the aforementioned two crashes.