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DGCA asks airlines to conduct inspection of emergency exits of Boeing 737-8 Max planes

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New Delhi, Jan 6 (PTI) Aviation watchdog DGCA on Saturday directed domestic airlines to immediately carry out inspection of emergency exits of all Boeing 737-8 Max planes in their fleets as an "abundant precautionary measure" in the wake of the Alaska Airlines incident.

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A senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that "one-time emergency exit checks" should mandatorily be carried out by all operators by noon on January 7.

The inspections will be done during the night halt of the aircraft concerned, the official said and as a result, there will be no impact on flight schedules.

Currently, there are more than 40 Boeing 737-8 Max planes that are operated by three domestic carriers -- Akasa Air, SpiceJet and Air India Express.

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The directive comes after an Alaska Airlines plane's outer section, including a window, fell off mid-air and the aircraft involved was Boeing 737-9 Max.

Indian carriers do not have Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft in their fleets now.

The DGCA official said the latest directive is an abundant precautionary measure.

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"DGCA has directed all the Indian air operators to carry out a one-time inspection of the emergency exits immediately on all Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft currently operating as part of their fleet," the official said.

The official also said that pursuant to the Alaska Airlines incident involving Boeing 737 -9 Max aircraft, there have been no inputs or guidance from Boeing so far. When asked whether flight schedules could be impacted by the inspection, the official replied in the negative.

"No, these one-time checks will be done during the night halt of aircraft," the official said.

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In their fleets, Akasa Air has 22 Max planes, SpiceJet has more than 10 such planes and Air India Express has 9 such aircraft.

"We do not have any 737-9 Max in our fleet. SpiceJet will adhere to the DGCA directive on the Max-8," a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

There were no immediate comments from Akasa Air and Air India Express on the DGCA directive. PTI RAM MR MR

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