Indian airline SpiceJet has made the decision to ground three modified Boeing 737 freighters after irregularities were discovered which raised concerns.
The carrier announced that the jets, which were converted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), will be grounded via a stock exchange disclosure, and that it has done so on the advice of IAI.
The Israeli aerospace and aviation manufacturer recently advised operators of its converted freighters – of which 47 were delivered – not to operate them.
Cirium fleets data indicates SpiceJet operates four freighters: one 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter, and three 737-700 freighters.
The three 737-700 freighters are registered VT-SFB, -SFD and –SFE and were delivered to the airline between 2018 and 2019. The trio were originally in service with Xiamen Airlines.
SpiceJet says it expects the aircraft to return to service once regulatory approval is given, though it did not state any timeline.
On 12 December, it was reported that IAI detected an “apparent irregularity” in some of its converted Boeing 737 freighters.
The irregularity pertains to a cargo door installed during conversion from a passenger jet to a freighter. This is a rigid barrier that serves as an additional safety feature to separate the cockpit from the cargo and is not critical to flight safety.
However, IAI has stressed that the rigid barrier does not affect flight under normal conditions.
Qantas was among the operators affected, and it recently took four 737-300 freighters out of service.