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FAA-EASA to test Boeing 737 Max from January 15; India to take a call later

NEW DELHI: As Boeing 737Max recertification process enters the last phase, the civil aviation regulators of the US and Europe have decided to jointly conduct safety test flights from January 15.

The Indian civil aviation regulator will conduct its own tests before re-certifying them.

According to industry insiders, the Federal Aviation Administration-European Aviation Safety Agency joint tests are expected to take place in the US and will use their combined expertise to vet the aircraft.

Boeing 737 Max has been grounded around the world after two crashes, since last year.

In terms of India’s safety regulations, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will conduct its own assessment tests, once the FAA-EASA test results are declared.

“We are aware of the joint tests. We will wait for the certification process to fructify,” a DGCA official told IANS.

In terms of India’s aviation scenario, the tests are crucial for SpiceJet, which has a fleet of thirteen 737Max aircraft. The airline’s international expansion plans are heavily dependent on the early return of the aircraft.

At present, SpiceJet’s fleet stands at 119. Once re-certified, the airline will be able to get 30 or more aircraft for operations.

Additionally, the 737Maxs will allow the airline to retire some old fuel guzzlers, leading to higher saving margins.

SpiceJet had placed an order for 225 Maxs in 2017, while it has a firm order of more than 150 of these aircraft.