SpiceJet cancels 14 flights: Three days after an Ethiopian flight crashed killing 157 people including four Indians on board, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with effect from Wednesday evening. Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola in a press briefing announced that all flights of Boeing 737 MAX 8 have been grounded. An advisory has been issued to Spicejet airlines on the same, said Kharola.

The aviation secretary said that Spicejet has cancelled 14 flights from its 500 plus flights’ lot and has been instructed to accommodate all passengers on their own. He further said that real challenge will be on Thursday as the grounding came into effect in the second half of the day. The flights have been cancelled for stretches from Delhi-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad-Mumbai, Mumbai-Kochi, Hyderabad-Bengaluru, Bengaluru-Madurai, Chennai-Guwahati, Chennai-Port Blair, Delhi-Pune, Delhi-Goa among others.

Reports say that the airline has increased the utilisation of existing aircraft and SpiceJet service at airports will not go defunct. The airline has also set up a special cell to monitor the passengers’ complaints. Cancellation of 14 Spicejet flights by the Centre has resulted in an additional burden on India’s air traffic.

On Tuesday, India’s Jet Airways had also grounded five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft and is currently not flying any of the planes in its fleet. Air Italy, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines and Russian airlines to have reported that they were closely following the ongoing investigation into the crash and were in contact with aircraft officials. Australia and Singapore also suspended the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in their airspace following the deadly crash of Ethiopia Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 on March 10.

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