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India likely to lift ban on Boeing 737 MAX plane soon, Spicejet to gain

Boeing 737 MAX is likely to fly in India soon (Pic. Courtesy moneycontrol.com)

India is set to allow Boeing Co's 737 MAX passenger jets to resume flights in the country in a matter of days, according to a Bloomberg News report which cited a person familiar with the matter.

The country has been satisfied with the plane's performance since it was allowed to fly again in the United States, Europe and a number of other markets. Boeing has also met conditions laid down by India's regulator, which included setting up a MAX simulator, the report said. 

About 30 airlines and 175 countries have allowed the 737 MAX to return to service after the plane was banned following two crashes due to the same software glitch within five months in which as many as 346 people had died.

Boeing said in a statement it continues to work with global regulators to safely return the 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX to service worldwide, and deferred the timeline to India's air safety regulator.

If the U.S. plane manufacturer gets the go-ahead in India it would end a nearly two-and-a-half-year regulatory grounding of the model in an important market. The worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX had come as a major setback of Boeing while its arch rival European giant Airbus had forged ahead,. 

India's low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd, India's second-largest airline next to IndiGo, has more than a hundred 737 MAX planes on firm order.

SpiceJet has been forced to ground thirteen 737 MAX planes and expects Boeing to compensate it for the losses it has incurred as a result.

India and China are the only two major markets where regulators are yet to give the MAX the go-ahead.

Meanwhile, Boeing had conducted a test flight of the 737 MAX jet in China on Thursday to prove that the plane is safe and the problem has been sorted out.