New Delhi: Indian aviation industry is set to enter into days of chaos in the coming days after India's ban on Boeing 737 Max planes. The chaos will be in the form of flight cancellations and surge in flight ticket prices in over the next few days.
Budget airline SpiceJet Ltd has 12 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet while Jet Airways (India) Ltd has five. All of them are going to be grounded from Wednesday evening onwards following the aviation regulator's pre-emptive order in light of the Ethiopia plane crash on Sunday.
Spice Jet’s ban of 12 Boeing 737 Max is going to affect around 17,000 passengers in India on day-to-day basis. India’s Financial capital, Mumbai city, also hit by the ban. Unless the Indian aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Ministry, comes in and puts in a pressure on Airline companies, all things will go awry further. Civil Aviation Ministry officials have already made it clear that they will stand with passengers’ interests. But they will have to ensure that the unprecedented situation should not be used by the private airlines to milk the passengers by putting proper measures in place to stop hike in fare. As the Airline business is a demand-supply driven business, the absence of flights will naturally reflect on price soon.
Information about the number of flights cancelled on Wednesday was not immediately available. Passengers have already begun to face the difficult situation of missing connecting flights.
"SpiceJet has suspended Boeing 737 Max operations following DGCA's decision to ground the aircraft," said a SpiceJet spokesperson. "Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us... We will be working with the regulator and the manufacturer to attain normalcy in our operations," he added.
Jet Airways, which has already grounded several of its planes due to financial issues, has not been operating any of its five Boeing 737 Max planes.
Already more than 20 countries have grounded their Boeing 737 Max planes. This will also indirectly affect Indian passengers. US may be one of the few countries who did not ban the Boeing yet. Even after two back to back airlines tragedies, Ethiopian airlines crash and Lion Jet crash, and the death of several passengers, no technical glitches have been found out till now.
The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max planes in India and many other countries will also have an impact on the planned acquisition of this aircraft by Indian carriers. SpiceJet and Jet Airways are expecting delivery of over 300 Boeing 737 Max aircraft over the next few years.
The ban will also have a significant impact on the fortunes of Boeing Co., as the 737 Max is the world's most-sold commercial aircraft and central to Boeing's future.