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New Delhi:

An alert over a loose bolt in new-built Boeing 737 Max passenger aircraft has prompted airlines in India which operate the type to carry out checks to ensure there are no defects that can affect flight safety.

India’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is closely monitoring the situation and has been in touch with Akasa, Air India Express and SpiceJet, which operate the aircraft.

This comes after the US’ Federation Aviation Administration said it is closely monitoring targeted inspections of Boeing 737 MAX airplanes to look for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control system. The plane manufacturer has said the issue identified on a particular aircraft has been fixed and asked airlines to conduct an inspection of their Boeing 737 Max fleet.

The DGCA has said it is in touch with its US counterpart and Boeing and that the checks currently being carried out are part of the regular process to ensure flight safety.

“This has been an ongoing issue with Max 737 and these are service bulletins issued from time to time by Boeing to the airline operators for the suggested action whenever any issue is come across. We have been in touch with Boeing, FAA and our airline operators in the past too on such issues concerning 737 Max,” the DGCA said in a statement.

“In such cases, mitigation as recommended by the Original Equipment Manufacturers is carried out by the airline operator as has been done in the past in respect of 737 Max,” it added.

An Akasa Air spokesperson has said Boeing had informed them about the issue. “Like all operators around the world, and in accordance with our highest standards of safety, Akasa will be following the same checks and procedures that the manufacturer or regulator recommends. Our operating fleet and deliveries are not impacted so far,” it said.

An Air India Express spokesperson said, “As per Boeing’s global recommendation for all airline operators, Air India Express will check its Boeing 737-8 aircraft within the timelines. Our unwavering commitment to safety remains paramount.”

A SpiceJet spokesperson said the fresh alert will have no impact on its operations. 

The airlines NDTV has been in touch with say the inspection does not take more than 2 hours per aircraft.

Boeing 737 Max, the manufacturer’s fastest-selling plane in history, was grounded worldwide in 2019 after crashes in Indonesia and Jakarta left 356 people dead. The aircraft was back in service early in 2021.

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