SpiceJet Gets DGCA Notice After 8 Incidents Of Technical Snag In 18 days

The DGCA has given the airline three weeks to respond to the notice.

New Delhi: Indian airline SpiceJet, which has reported at least 8 incidents of technical malfunction in the last 18 days, was served a show-cause notice by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday. The aviation regulator, in its notice, stated that SpiceJet has failed to “establish safe, efficient and reliable air services” under the terms of Rule 134 and Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

“The review (of the incidents) transpires that poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions (as most of the incidents were related to either component failure or system-related failure) have resulted in degradation of the safety margins,” it said.

The DGCA has given the SpiceJet three weeks to respond to the notice.

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“Financial assessment carried out by DGCA in September 2021 has also revealed that the airline is operating on ‘cash-and-carry’ (model) and suppliers/approved vendors are not being paid on a regular basis, leading to shortage of spares and frequent invoking of MELs (minimum equipment lists),” the notice read.

Following the DGCA notice, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said passenger safety is paramount and “the smallest error hindering safety will be thoroughly investigated and course-corrected”.

8 Incidents In 18 Days

SpiceJet planes have reported at least eight incidents of technical snags in the last 18 days. Of these, three mishaps occurred within a single days on Tuesday, when the airline’s Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi due to a malfunctioning fuel indicator and its Kandla-Mumbai flight did priority landing in Maharashtra’s capital city after cracks developed on its windshield mid-air.

Later on Tuesday, a SpiceJet freighter aircraft, which was heading to Chongqing in China, returned to Kolkata as the pilots realised after the take-off that its weather radar was not working.

On July 2, a SpiceJet flight heading to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after the crew members observed smoke in the cabin at an altitude of around 5,000 feet.

Fuselage door warnings lit up on two separate SpiceJet planes while taking off on June 24 and June 25, forcing the aircraft to abandon their journeys and return.

On June 19, an engine on the carrier’s Delhi-bound aircraft carrying 185 passengers caught fire soon after it took off from the Patna airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. The engine malfunctioned because of a bird hit.

In another incident on June 19, a SpiceJet flight for Jabalpur had to return to Delhi due to cabin pressurisation issues.

The airline has been making losses for the last three years. It incurred a net loss of Rs 316 crore, Rs 934 crore and Rs 998 crore in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively.

(With PTI inputs)