March 11, 2019 / 4:39 PM / 2 months ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-India air safety watchdog orders new checks on Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes

(Refiles to add dropped letter in name of Ethiopian Airlines, paragraph 1)

By Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI, March 11 (Reuters) - India’s air safety regulator on Monday ordered additional maintenance checks on Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operating in the country and said a review found “no significant concern” after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on Sunday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed Indian carriers to ensure that pilots have 1,000 hours and co-pilots 500 hours of flying experience on the 737 MAX 8.

Low-cost Indian carrier SpiceJet has 12 737 MAX 8 planes while Jet Airways Ltd has 5, although several of them have been grounded over non-payment of leasing dues.

A Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board. One of the planes run by Indonesia’s Lion Air also crashed in October.

India’s DGCA said that its interim safety measures have been communicated to Boeing and the U.S. regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for any additional advice.

“DGCA will continue to closely monitor the situation and may impose/ take any other operational/ maintenance measures/ restrictions based on the information receives from accident investigation agency/ FAA/ Boeing,” it said in its statement.

The new measures kick in from 12:00 local time (0630 GMT) on Tuesday. (Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Alexander Smith)

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