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An empty Boeing 737 Max aeroplane in a maintenance hanger in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the US. File photo: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI
An empty Boeing 737 Max aeroplane in a maintenance hanger in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the US. File photo: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

India lifted its ban on Boeing’s 737 Max jet, a big boost to the American plane maker that leaves China as the only leading aviation market yet to allow the aircraft to resume service. 

India’s decision comes after it observed “no untoward reporting” on jets already flying since 17 global regulators allowed it to resume flights, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in an order posted on its website on Thursday. 

Boeing shares rose 0.4% to $222 before the start of regular trading in New York. The stock climbed 3.3% in the year to Wednesday while the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 16%.

The Max was grounded worldwide more than two years ago after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. While the US, Europe and most other big markets allowed the jet to resume flights in late 2020 or earlier this year after extensive fixes, India and China held back.

Boeing is still working with Chinese authorities to lift the ban there and has conducted a test flight in the country, though it could take months before commercial flights resume. 

Airbus SE A320s dominate the skies in India, and Boeing has only one customer with orders: SpiceJet. The plane maker is in advanced discussions with Akasa, a new Indian airline backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, to sell it as many as 80 Max planes, Bloomberg News has reported. Boeing forecasts that airlines in India will need more than 2,200 new jets worth almost $320bn over the next 20 years as an emerging middle class upgrades from trains and buses. 

Boeing has met local requirements in India to resume flights, including setting up a simulator in the South Asian nation, and India is now satisfied with the jet’s performance, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month. In April India allowed Max jets registered in other nations to enter its airspace if the flight was permitted by the registering authority in the country of origin. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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