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Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft banned from Indian air space starting 4pm today

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SpiceJet Delhi-Dubai plane makes emergency landing in Karachi

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]All Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will be banned in Indian airspace from 4 pm today (Wednesday, March 13).

The government said the aircraft will also be grounded in the country by 4 pm. Last night, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had announced that the planes would be grounded with immediate effect until appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.

The order came three days after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed, killing 157 people including four Indians. Since the crash on Sunday, several countries have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, the latest and best-selling variant of the US-based plane-maker.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted: “No B737 Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace effective 1600hrs IST or 1030 UTC. The time line is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities & international flights can reach their destinations (sic).”

The ministry has called an emergency meeting of all airlines at 4 pm today “to prepare a contingency plan” as a number of flights have been cancelled following the suspension, according to news agency PTI.

Among Indian carriers, SpiceJet has 13 jets of the model 8 variant in its 76-strong fleet while Jet Airways has five.

While all five 737 MAXs of Jet Airways are grounded due to the airline’s financial woes, Spicejet has been allowed to fly till 4 pm today. “This is to cater to situations where aircraft are to fly back to India or go to a maintenance facility for parking. All MAX shut down before 4pm today,” a senior official told The Indian Express.

SpiceJet has also cancelled 14 of its flights today in line with the DGCA deadline and accommodated its passengers on alternate flights or offered a full refund. The airline said it would be operating additional flights from tomorrow.

“Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us and we are closely working with the regulator and manufacturer to resolve the matter,” Spicejet said in a statement.

“Of the 76 planes in our fleet, 64 aircraft are in operations and we are confident of minimizing the inconvenience to our passengers and attain normalcy in our operations,” it added. The airline had earlier defended the jets, calling them “highly sophisticated”.

The planes in India will stay grounded until modifications and safety measures are taken, the Civil Aviation Ministry had announced last evening.

On Monday, the DGCA had directed Indian carriers to ensure that pilots have 1,000 hours and co-pilots 500 hours of flying experience on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

The last time India announced a blanket grounding of aircraft was in 2013 when regulators followed FAA directive to bring Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft out of service due to heating problems with the plane’s lithium-ion batteries that had the potential to catch fire.

On Sunday, a 737 MAX aircraft of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to Kenya, killing  all 157 passengers, including three Indians. In October last year, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed killing over 180 people in Indonesia.

Following the crashes that resulted in the death of 346 people, multiple airlines across the globe announced the suspension of flight operations of Boeing’s flagship aircraft. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has banned the plane across Europe. A score of countries including the UK, France, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Malaysia, Oman among others joined the suspension.

US-based Boeing, the world’s biggest aeroplane manufacturer, which has seen billions of dollars wiped off its market value since the crash, said it understood the countries’ actions but retained “full confidence” in the 737 MAX and had safety as its priority.

It said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers. Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with US President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 MAX 8 is safe, the company said.

In a statement, Boeing said that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was “not mandating any further action at this time” and based on the information available, the aircraft maker did not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.

The US FAA said on Tuesday it would not ground the MAX 8 planes. It said a review by the body “shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.”

Of the top 10 countries by air passenger travel, all but the United States and Japan have halted flights of the 737 MAX.

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Turbulence in Singapore Airlines flight leaves 1 dead, 30 injured, plan makes emergency landing in Bangkok

One person died and several sustained injuries after a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore encountered severe turbulence.

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Turbulence in Singapore Airlines flight leaves 1 dead, 30 injured, plan makes emergency landing in Bangkok

A passenger travelling in Singapore Airlines flight was found dead after the plan encountered severe turbulence caused by adverse weather. Over 30 people were also injured in turbulence. The was coming from London and was going to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines stated in a statement that flight SQ321, which was traveling to Singapore when it took off on Monday from London’s Heathrow Airport, encountered severe turbulence en route. After being diverted, the plane touched down at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. (local time).

The deceased passenger’s name has not been revealed.

There were 211 passengers and 18 crew members on board at the Boeing 777-300 ER.

The airline also said, they can confirm that there are injuries and one fatality on board the Boeing. However, their priority is to help every passenger and member of the crew on board the aircraft as much as they can. They are sending a team to Bangkok to provide any further aid required, and they are collaborating with the Thai local authorities to provide the required medical assistance, it added.

Medical staff have boarded the aircraft to assess injuries, but the number of casualties has not been confirmed, according to Thai immigration police, and some uninjured passengers have been deplaned.

Emergency personnel from Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital were on hand to help injured passengers get medical attention as soon as they landed. A line of ambulances was seen flowing to the site in videos that Suvarnabhumi Airport shared on the messaging app LINE, according to the reports.

The Singapore Airlines flight was traveling at a height of 37,000 feet, according to tracking data that was obtained by FlightRadar24 and examined by AP. The aircraft abruptly and violently dipped down to 31,000 feet over the course of around three minutes, shortly after 0800 GMT. After less than ten minutes at 31,000 feet, the plane descended quickly and touched down in Bangkok in less than thirty minutes.

Meanwhile, as per experts, these types of injuries typically occur when passengers fail to fasten their seatbelts and the pilot is unable to issue an early warning due to the weather radar data not indicating turbulence. Passengers may get injuries if they are flung around in the cockpit in such circumstances.


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PM Modi condoles Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death says India stands with Iran

PM Narendra Modi extended condolences to Ebrahim Raisi’s family and the people of Iran.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled Iran president Ebrahim Raisi’s death and said he was deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise. The PM also said contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral ties will always be remembered.

Taking to social media X, formerly Twitter, PM Modi said deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic passing of Iran’s president, Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi. He also said, he will never forget his contribution to the bilateral ties between Iran and India. The PM said his heartfelt condolences are his family and the people of Iran, he added. PM Modi wrote, India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow.

Ebrahim Raisi was found dead a day after his helicopter went missing. He reportedly died in a chopper crash in the mountainous region of the country.

The helicopter crash claimed the lives of officials, bodyguards, and Iran’s foreign minister in addition to Raisi.

State television announced on Monday that Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, the servant of the Iranian nation, has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people, and Mehr news agency confirmed his death.

The missing helicopter was being looked for by Iranian authorities since Sunday afternoon.

Reportedly, the crash occurred in the East Azerbaijan province of Iran and claimed the lives of nine individuals, including Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

There was no proof that the passengers were still alive, according to reports from Iranian media.

Out of the three helicopters in his convoy, only two made it to their destination, including Ebrahim Raisi. He had traveled to the northwest province to join President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan at the inauguration of a dam project in Jolfa.

It was anticipated that Raisi, a devout conservative, would succeed the eighty-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Since 2021, Ebrahim Raisi has served as Iran’s president. He replaced Hassan Rouhani, the centrist president.

Under his leadership, the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian-Kurdish woman who had been detained for violating the Iranian dress code for women, sparked widespread public unrest throughout the nation.

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister safe after surviving multiple gunshot

The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

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Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed today that Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition is stable, with his life no longer in immediate danger, following an alarming incident where he was shot multiple times.

The Prime Minister was shot by an assassin while he was leaving a meeting on Wednesday.The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Fico was urgently airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent extensive surgery that lasted several hours. Defence Minister Robert Kalinak, addressing reporters from outside the hospital where Fico was receiving treatment on Wednesday, described the Prime Minister’s condition as critical, emphasising that he was fighting for his life.

The identity of the suspect is yet unconfirmed as the police further investigate. Unconfirmed reports from local media suggest that the assailant may have been a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video is currently circulating in which the alleged perpetrator can be seen. In the clip, he mentions that he does not agree with government policy.

The shooting has sparked international concern. Expressing shock over the incident, PM Modi conveyed his solidarity with the people of the Slovak Republic, wishing Prime Minister Fico a speedy recovery. He strongly condemned the shooting, denouncing it as a cowardly and despicable act while emphasising the need for unity against such violent acts and reaffirming India’s support for Slovakia during these challenging times.

Earlier, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen also expressed disapproval of the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico . On X, she stated that such acts of violence have no place in society, undermining democracy, the most precious common good. Von der Leyen extended her thoughts to Prime Minister Fico and his family, highlighting the European Union’s solidarity during this challenging time. The condemnation from EU leadership underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for a united stance against violence targeting political figures. As the investigation unfolds, international support for Slovakia remains steadfast, emphasising the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring the safety of leaders across Europe.

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