SpiceJet’s converted B737Fs back in the air after temporary grounding

Indian airline SpiceJet has put all three of its Boeing 737 converted freighters back into service after they were grounded on the advice of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), the company that carried out the aircraft conversions for the low cost carrier.

SpiceJet’s decision comes a few days after both Qantas Freight and Alaska Air Cargo re-started flights using their IAI converted B737 freighters which were temporarily grounded on safety grounds.

Two weeks ago IAI advised customers not to fly its converted B737Fs after saying it had detected an “apparent irregularity” in the production process of a rigid barrier installed in some of the conversions.

The barrier serves as an additional safety feature to separate the cockpit from the cargo and is not critical to flight safety. Reuters reported IAI as stating that the rigid barrier does not affect flight under normal conditions but “may limit the way aircraft can be safely loaded for flight”.

Israel’s aviation regulator had ordered airlines with Boeing 737 jets converted to freighters by IAI to comply with loading restrictions and use additional straps when needed before they can resume flying, according to Reuters.

In a December 23 notice to the Securities and Exchange Board of India, SpiceJet’s senior vice president (legal) and company secretary, Chandan Sand, said: “…we wish to update that these three grounded B737 freighter aircraft shall return to our operations effective December 23, 2019 basis the resolution provided by IAI.”

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