The Directorate General of Civil Aviation acted against SpiceJet, ordering the Indian budget airline to operate just 50 per cent of approved flights for the next 8 weeks.
Before passing the order, the statutory body of the Government of India had reviewed incidents on aircraft operated by the company from April 1 to July.
Through the review, it had come to light that on multiple occasions, the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing to the destination with degraded safety margins.
It had also come to light that there is poor, internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions, which have resulted in degradation of the safety margins.
The interim order read, “Financial assessments carried out by DGCA in September 2021, have revealed that M/s SpiceJet is operating on cash carry and suppliers/approved vendors are not being paid on regular basis leading to the shortage of spares and frequent invoking of MELs.”
From the above, the body concluded that SpiceJet failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable air transport service, and accordingly, issued a show cause notice on July 5, to explain within 3 weeks of receipt of the notice as to why action should not be taken against the airline. SpiceJet submitted a reply as was directed on July 25, and after reviewing it at appropriate levels, the DGCA held that the company was taking measures for arresting the trends of incidents, however, it needs to sustain these efforts for safe and reliable air transport service.
“In view of the findings of various spot checks, inspections and the reply to the show cause notice submitted by SpiceJet, for continued sustenance of safe and reliable transport service, the number of departures of SpiceJet are hereby restricted to 50 per cent of the number of departures approved under summer schedule 2022 for a period of 8 weeks.
“Any increase in the number of departures beyond 50 % of the number of departures approved under Summer Schedule 2022 during this period, shall be subject to the airline demonstrating to the satisfaction of DGCA that it has sufficient technical support and financial resources to safely and efficiently undertake such enhanced capacity,” the aviation regulator’s order read, adding that there will ‘enhanced surveillance’.”
In response to DGCA’s action, SpiceJet said that it will act as per the directions of the regulator. It also asserted that DGCA’s order doesn’t impact it’s flight operations and assured the passengers that it’s flights will operate as per schedule in the coming days and weeks. It also welcomed DGCA’s observation that SpiceJet is taking measures to arrest the trend of incidents of malfunction.
The statement read, “We are in receipt of the DGCA order and will act as per directions of the regulator. Due to the current lean travel season, SpiceJet like other airlines had already rescheduled its flight operations. Hence, there will be absolutely no impact on our flight operations. We want to reassure our passengers and travel partners that our flights will operate as per schedule in the coming days and weeks. There will be no flight cancellation as a consequence of this order.
DGCA’s observation that SpiceJet is taking measures for arresting the trend of incidents is very encouraging and we will continue to work under the close guidance of the regulator.”