A Boeing 737 MAX airplane. Source: Reuters
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  • India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation approves Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, lifting a ban that was in place for more than two years
  • The planes were grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two deadly crashes but have now been given the green light by 18 global regulators
  • The return of the 737 MAX jets has led to new orders and to Boeing turning a profit in the June quarter for the first time since the onset of the pandemic
  • Boeing is still working with Chinese regulators, and earlier this month a test flight of the 737 MAX took flight from Shanghai

India has become the latest country to lift the ban on Boeing’s 737 MAX jets.

The planes were grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people and the ban has been in place for more than two years. 

Following a 20-month safety review and conditions for the implementation of new pilot training and flight computer updates, the US Federal Aviation Administration greenlit the return of the aircraft late last year. 

Brazil became the next country to allow the return of the 737 MAX, and since then, 16 other global regulators – with India being the latest – have followed suit. 

In April this year, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, passed an order allowing the jets to be flown through Indian airspace, and on Thursday, issued a new order enabling the full operation of the aircraft in and out of Indian airports. 

Since the approval of the US regulator on November 18, 2020, Boeing’s New York Stock Exchange-listed shares have gained 6.5 per cent (figure as of August 26, 2021). 

Elsewhere the return of the 737 MAX has led to new orders and contributed to Boeing’s first quarter of positive earnings since before the pandemic, in the June quarter of 2021.

Currently, the aerospace giant only has one Indian airline called SpiceJet on the books. SpiceJet is reported to be planning to resume flights with the 737 Max at the end of September.  

The main market left to reopen to the jets is China. A test flight from Shanghai took place earlier this month. 

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