India’s SpiceJet to resume Boeing 737 Max service next month

Company strikes deal with Avolon to lease the aircraft

SpiceJet's first 737 MAX 8 takes-off from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington (Craig Larson photo).
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India's SpiceJet expects to start operations of Boeing’s grounded 737 Max jets at the end of September after the company entered into a settlement deal with Avolon on leases of the aircraft.

“As India emerges from Covid and air traffic picks up again, the Max aircraft will play a major role in our future expansion,” Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, said on the company website.

“With a better and a more efficient fleet back in operation we expect a significant reduction in our operating costs, improving our bottom line.”

Boeing’s best-selling narrow-body jet was grounded around the world in March 2019 after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.

The incidents triggered a series of investigations that led to aircraft certification reforms and cost Boeing about $20 billion.

Boeing posted its first quarterly profit in almost two years as deliveries of its 737 Max model picked up and air travel demand improved on the back of rapid Covid-19 vaccination campaigns globally.

The US plane maker swung to a second-quarter net profit of $567 million, from a loss of $2.4bn in the same quarter last year, Boeing said last month. Revenue rose 44 per cent year on year to $17bn, beating analysts’ estimates of $16.5bn, compiled by Refinitiv.

India’s air safety regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, allowed 737 Max aircraft to fly with immediate effect on Thursday, after nearly two and a half years of regulatory grounding.

The UAE's civil aviation regulator also lifted a 23-month ban on the Boeing 737 Max jet earlier this year and deemed the aircraft safe to return to the skies.

The UAE is home to flydubai, one of the world's biggest customers of the 737 Max aircraft.

Updated: August 29, 2021, 5:09 AM