India’s DGCA Will Make Own Validation Of 737 MAX

India has followed Europe in deciding it will make its own validation of the Boeing 737 MAX. The checks will include simulator training for all pilots before the aircraft are allowed to fly in India again.

SpiceJet MAX
India’s DGCA will test the MAX itself. Photo: Boeing

After the European regulator announced that it will make its own checks on the Boeing 737 MAX earlier this week, India has followed its lead and will also perform its own checks. As reported on Skift, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) will begin its own assessment of the 737 MAX only after the FAA has cleared it to fly.

Why does India want to perform its own checks?

The decision of the Indian regulator comes after two fatal crashes prompted a worldwide grounding of the type. Although the FAA is still taking the lead on the investigation into the safety of the MAX, regulators around the world are taking the US regulators authority with a pinch of salt since the incidents occurred.


Big questions over the relationship between Boeing and the FAA have been raised, and it seems that the return to service of the type may be more difficult that Boeing anticipated. The decision by the EASA and now the DGCA is a mark of how deferral to the FAA may be coming to an end.

Boeing 737 MAX
Regulators are showing less willingness to defer to the FAA. Photo: Boeing

According to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, as reported in the Economic Times of India,

“A solution from Boeing, the manufacturer, and certification of the said solution by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is awaited by DGCA to consider the safe return of the aircraft to service,”


What is expected from the Indian checks?

According to LiveMint, the DGCA plans to undertake ‘due diligence’ in regard to the MAX, and only after the FAA has cleared it to fly. This would likely involve mandatory simulator training for all 737 MAX pilots, as well as other investigations as it sees fit.

An anonymous spokesperson said to LiveMint,

“Nobody is sure about when the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will take to the air again. It will have to be firstly re-certified by FAA, following which DGCA will also independently conduct due diligence before allowing the aircraft to fly on Indian skies,”

Boeing 737 MAX grounding 2020
Boeing’s timeline could be in jeopardy if other regulators decided to conduct their own safety checks. Photo: Boeing

Boeing is expected to be targeting October for recertification of the aircraft. However, the DGCA doesn’t hold out any hope of the aircraft operating in Indian airspace this side of the new year. The unnamed contact further told LiveMint,

The earliest time frame for the re-induction of Boeing 737 Max fleet is likely to be early next year. However, we can’t be too sure about it … DGCA will not allow the aircraft to fly unless the agency is assured that it is absolutely safe to fly these planes.”

For Indian carriers, the impact of the 737 MAX grounding has been somewhat limited. Only two carriers would be using the aircraft right now, one of which is beleaguered Jet Airways who is not flying any planes at all. SpiceJet, is the only carrier really impacted, with 12 aircraft out of action and a further 193 on order.

Jet Airways
Jet Airways is not currently operating any flights, MAX or otherwise. Photo: Boeing

Solid progress

At a recent conference, reported by Aerotime, Boeing CEO Denis Muilenberg reiterated that the timeline for return to service is still being targeted as the early part of Q4, 2019. However, he also noted that the lack of alignment between different regulators was causing concern to Boeing, saying that discrepancies between agencies was “creating a timeline uncertainty”.

Nevertheless, the Boeing chief said that the manufacturer continues to make “good, solid progress” towards the jet’s return to service. He added that the potential for the aircraft to return on a country by country basis was a possibility. If the MAX is not simultaneously returned to service, it could present some challenges for operators looking to fly internationally.


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It seems strange to me that there were no mass cancelations of 737 MAX orders. As far as I know only Saudi daughter Flyadeal canceled its MAX orders.

With all the problems going on and all the extra measures and trainings to be taken, can the Boeing 737 MAX still be as profitable for airlines as Airbus A320neo’s / Airbus A220’s?


Oct 1 is going to be the day – 6 months after the Max was grounded, most airlines have a penalty free out, from their contracts. No sense in going early and losing your deposit, is there?

“Key contractual provisions, including the right to cancel delayed deliveries, come into effect on October 1 for a number of major customers, and analysts therefore expect more cancellations from that date.[402] As of August 2019, no new orders had been added to the 737 MAX backlog for the sixth consecutive month,[403] though none had been canceled either.[379]”


The main reason is probably that even if an airline wanted to cancel the order of 737 MAX airplanes, this process may be very time consuming and costly as well as Airbus would almost certainly not be able to deliver an option to their orders within expected time since their order books are pretty full for the next many years.


I am sick to death hearing about the 737 MAX Airplane and now each country is setting up basically it’s own new complete new aircraft flight checks. The airplanes have been flying all the world to position them where the companies want them and amazing NOT ONE ISSUE WITH ANY OF THEM! This is totally absurd to cause one variant of the best selling commercial aircraft in the world to have to basically have another flight test program to prove itself AGAIN! The is no Precedent for action like this, if your pilots can’t fly the aircraft with a new… Read more »


Right – blame the pilots, once again. Well, have no fear, the FAA will re-certify the aircraft under the good guidance of the people at Boeing and you can fly it in the US ’til your heart’s content. Good luck

Vedant Ganesh

It was a flaw. Hands down. If Boeing can’t tell people about a new system in their best selling jet or design a failsafe system then who knows what is hiding on the Dreamliners and 777x.


First of all, the MCAS is NOT an anti-stall system as such. It is a system designed to make the airplane feel like earlier iterations of the 737 airplanes. This of course happens to include the system being able to engage if the airplane gets close to a stall condition but the main purpose of this is to make the feeling of entering the control area of a stall similar to what it would feel in other earlier versions of the 737. MCAS was only made to enable Boeing to get a type certification of the 737 MAX. However, there… Read more »


The question of what exactly MCAS is, is a muddy one. It does seem to be designed to push the nose down at a certain high AOA, but the actual reason for doing this seems a very clouded subject. The definition of MCAS seems deliberately vague and misleading. To imply that to make the pilot stick feel more like flying the old version, the whole elevator is slowly trimmed by the jack screw seems ridiculous , pilots need instant response to stick commands. This “feel” is achieved by hydraulics in normal FYB planes. No I’m sorry, to imply that to… Read more »




I agree, Shapes. The corporate mumbo-jumbo was ‘to feel the same’, but ostensibly it was a poorly designed stall protection kludge – put in there because the engines were too big for the airframe.

In-Frequent Flyer

It was also suspected a microprocessor was buggy, resulting in it continuously feeding info to MCAS that the plane was impending to stall. However, after having seen the MAX fly for so long without incident, you could say the plane itself is still aerodynamically suitable for flight in spite of the tendency to pitch up. What the media and anyone else foolish enough to believe is that they think this ‘pitch up’ tendency means the plane will nose up very quickly. In reality, it’s actually subtle and slow until a very high angle of attack would be reached; no different… Read more »