The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has prohibited 90 SpiceJet pilots from flying Boeing 737 MAX planes after finding shortcomings in their training for this particular aircraft. The aviation regulator has directed the pilots to retrain for flying the 737 MAX before they can be allowed to fly one.

“Ninety pilots have been restrained from flying the Boeing 737 MAX. They will have to undergo training again to the satisfaction of DGCA,” director general Arun Kumar told a news agency.

The action reportedly came after the revelation that the ‘sticker shaker’, which rapidly and noisily vibrates to warn the cockpit crew if the aircraft resists lift, was not available on the simulator at the time of training the SpiceJet pilots.

“We will take strict action against those found responsible for the lapse,” Kumar told the portal.

SpiceJet confirmed that DGCA has barred 90 of its pilots from flying the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The decision, however, will not affect the operations of the airline’s 737 MAX fleet. The pilots barred from flying 737 Max aircraft will remain available for other Boeing planes.

"SpiceJet currently operates 11 MAX aircraft and about 144 pilots are required to operate these 11 aircraft," Kumar said.

SpiceJet originally had 650 pilots trained for the 737 MAX. With 90 pilots barred, the airline still has 560 pilots who can operate the fleet. The remaining will be allowed to fly the 737 MAX after completing proper training.

The Boeing 737 MAX had been in the news for all the wrong reasons after two crashes involving the aircraft – Lion Air flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 – within a span of five months claimed 346 lives. Subsequently, the 737 MAX was grounded around the world in March 2019.

The ban was finally lifted in December 2020 after Boeing rectified the problems that led to the crashes. The 737 MAX was allowed to fly in India in August 2021. Notably, only SpiceJet runs a fleet of 737 MAX jets.

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