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India grounds Boeing 737 MAX planes

Tuesday March 12 2019

 Ethiopia

Women mourn during a memorial ceremony for the seven crew members who died in the Ethiopian Airlines accident at the Ethiopian Pilot Association Club in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 11, 2019. PHOTO | AFP 

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NEW DELHI

India's civil aviation ministry said Tuesday it had grounded the country's Boeing 737 MAX fleet after two fatal crashes of the model within five months.

"These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations," the ministry wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.

New Delhi has joined more than a dozen of countries grounding or closing airspace to the model in the wake of the crash.

In October, a Lion Air jet of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

A day earlier, India's aviation regulator said it had imposed additional "interim" safety requirements for ground engineers and crew for the aircraft, but stopped short of ordering their grounding.

Indian airline SpiceJet, which flies 13 B-737 MAX 8 planes, jumped to the defence of the plane, calling it "a highly sophisticated aircraft".