LONDON – The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has barred 90 pilots from flying on the 737 MAX due to issues with the simulator provided by Boeing.
Arun Kumar of the DGCA commented on this action:
“For the moment, we have barred these pilots from flying Max and they have to retrain successfully for flying Max.”
“Also, we will take strict action against those found responsible for the lapse.”
SpiceJet, who has been affected by this move, also commented on the actions taken by the DGCA:
“SpiceJet has 650 pilots trained on Boeing 737 Max. DGCA had an observation on the training profile followed for 90 Pilots, and therefore as per the advice of DGCA, SpiceJet has restricted 90 pilots from operating Max aircraft, until these pilots undergo re-training to the satisfaction of DGCA,”
“This restriction does not impact the operations of Max aircraft whatsoever. SpiceJet currently operates 11 Max aircraft and about 144 pilots are required to operate these 11 aircraft.”
“Of the 650 trained pilots on the MAX, 560 continue to remain available, which is much more than the current requirement.”
Whilst this may be seen as worrying news, it is good that the DGCA has spotted this issue and that the pilots have to re-train.
For Boeing, this is not the news that it probably wants to hear, especially with the MAX being clouded with negative PR over the last few years in the aftermath of the two crashes that happened on their watch.
But for the American aerospace giant, the priority will now be addressing the software glitches in the simulator in order to preserve the safety and integrity of the program.
This is not the fault of the pilots, as they are being trained on something that should be safe.
SpiceJet’s Operations Still Intact…
For SpiceJet, this isn’t much of a problem as they have enough staff on their roster to ensure the re-training happens smoothly.
However, on the PR side, it could be suggested that the airline is happy having aircraft like the MAX as well as having pilots who may not be adequately trained.
Again, this is the sort of PR that needs to be diverted to Boeing rather than the Indian carrier themselves.
Either way, it is very much of a catch-22 in this regard.
What remains clear is that more work is going to be needed on the Boeing 737 MAX, particularly on the safety front when it comes to training pilots.
It will be interesting to see whether these glitches spread to other MAX customers and whether we could begin to see something more widespread moving forward.
All we can do in the meantime, however, is sit back and wait to see what happens and whether this problem can be solved safely and quickly.