Ministry of Civil Aviation, India said US airplane manufacturer Boeing is yet to submit a solution to enable its 737 Max aircraft to take to the skies again, and that the grounded aircraft will remain so until a certified fix is provided.
A total of 18 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, comprising 13 of SpiceJet and 5 from Jet Airways, remain grounded in India in the wake of the accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines’ operated 737 Max on March 10 this year.
Indian aviation authorities prohibited the operation of these planes over Indian airspace on March 13.
There were reports that Boeing would fix the 737 Max using a software update. However, said the Civil Aviation ministry, no fix has been submitted to Indian aviation authorities yet.
“A solution from M/s Boeing, the manufacturer, and certification of the said solution by Federal Aviation Administration, is awaited in DGCA to consider the safe return of the aircraft to service,” said Hardeep Singh Puri, junior minister for civil aviation.
The 737 Max was born out of a desire to make airplanes more fuel efficient, and had bigger engines than its predecessors.
However, the bigger engines — which were placed more forward under the wing to accommodate their size — also increased the tendency of the aircraft to ‘lift its nose’ up.
This was fixed using a software called MCAS, which was authorized to override human controls and physically bring down the nose if a sensor indicated that the plane was ‘tipping up’.
There has been speculation that Boeing could fix the 737 Max by modifying the MCAS software.