The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has relaxed, but not ended, its ban on B737-8 and B737-9 operations in Indian airspace, allowing only overflights and ferry flights.

According to an order issued on April 20, 2021, the only two types of B737 MAX operations permitted in India's airspace are:

  • overflights by foreign-registered aircraft, as long as they are in compliance with the appropriate directives of their local authorities and obtain permission from the DGCA, and
  • ferry flights of aircraft currently stored in India to conduct operational readiness checks abroad, after prior approval by the DGCA.

The DGCA allowed airlines and lessors to apply for Special Flight Permits for other operations, including for maintenance reasons but underlined that commercial operations of the type to, from, and within India would remain banned until further notice.

SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) is India's sole operator of the B737 MAX. The airline has thirteen aircraft parked at various Indian airports (five at Delhi Int'l, two each at Ahmedabad and Chennai, and one each at Bangalore Int'l, Hyderabad Int'l, Kolkata Int'l, and Mumbai Int'l), the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. All thirteen are dry-leased from CDB Aviation (five), BOC Aviation (three), Goshawk (two), Avolon, GECAS, and Park Aerospace Holdings (one each). The carrier has a further 133 B737 MAX 8s on order.

A further five ex-Jet Airways B737-8s remain in storage in India, including four units owned by GECAS (two at Hyderabad Int'l and one each at Kolkata Int'l and Mumbai Int'l airports) and one by SMBC Aviation Capital (at Kochi Int'l). Sources told the Economic Times daily that SMBC was "keen to fly the aircraft out of India".

In early April, the DGCA denied flydubai's request to use the B737 MAX - which have already been cleared to fly in the United Arab Emirates - on routes to India.