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'Failed to establish safe air services': DGCA issues show-cause notice to SpiceJet
A SpiceJet flight with 150 passengers on board on way to Dubai from Delhi landed at Karachi Airport, Pakistan on Tuesday after 'unusual fuel reduction' in tank.

'Failed to establish safe air services': DGCA issues show-cause notice to SpiceJet

| @indiablooms | 06 Jul 2022, 03:43 pm

New Delhi: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet after an unusually high number of technical malfunctions in a little over two weeks with the latest mid-air snag coming on Tuesday (July 5) night when a China-bound cargo plane returned to Kolkata after the pilot found the weather radar unserviceable.

The DGCA sought an explanation from SpiceJet as eight incidents of malfunction occurred in 18 days.

“SpiceJet has failed to establish safe, efficient, and reliable air services under Aircraft Rules, 1937,” the DGCA said.

On Tuesday, July 5, SpiceJet's Boeing 737 freighter (cargo aircraft) was scheduled to operate from Kolkata to Chongqing. After take-off, the weather radar stopped working, following which the pilot in charge decided to return to Kolkata. The aircraft landed safely at Kolkata, a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

Earlier on July 5, a Delhi to Dubai-bound  SpiceJet flight landed at Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan's Karachi after an indicator light malfunctioned. The airline said the flight crew noticed an unusual fuel quantity reduction from the left tank.

After being stranded for nearly 11 hours in Pakistan's Karachi, 138 passengers of a Delhi-Dubai SpiceJet finally took off for UAE on an alternate flight that was sent from India on Tuesday evening.

"...It has been observed that at number of occasions, the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing at the destination with degraded safety margins," the DGCA said in the notice.

"The (DGCA) review transpires that poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions (as most of the incidents are related to either component failure or system related failure) has resulted in degradation of safety margins," the aviation regulator said.

"Financial assessment carried out by DGCA in September 2021 has also revealed that airline is operating on cash and carry and suppliers/approved vendors are not being paid on regular basis, leading to shortage of spares..." it said. "...It may be deduced that SpiceJet Ltd has failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable air services," the DGCA said.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia also tweeted a copy of the DGCA notice. "Passenger safety is paramount. Even the smallest error hindering safety will be thoroughly investigated and course-corrected," he said.

In September 2021, the DGCA’s audit of the budget carrier revealed that component suppliers were not being paid on a regular basis leading to a shortage of spares.

SpiceJet reacts with the following statement by a spokesperson:

“SpiceJet is in receipt of the DGCA notice and will be responding within the specified time period. We are committed to ensuring a safe operation for our passengers and crew.

"We are an IATA-IOSA certified airline. SpiceJet successfully completed the meticulous audit program for recertification in October 2021. We have been regularly audited by DGCA. All our aircraft were audited a month ago by the regulator and found to be safe. All flights of SpiceJet are conducted in compliance with the applicable regulations of the DGCA Civil Aviation Regulations on the subject.”

 Past incidents

On July 5, a Delhi to Dubai-bound  SpiceJet flight landed at Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan's Karachi after an indicator light malfunctioned, a spokesperson of the airline said, adding that no emergency landing was required.

On July 2, a SpiceJet flight to Jabalpur flew back to Delhi after the crew members found smoke in the cabin when the plane was at around 5,000 feet altitude.

On two separate occasions, on June 24 and June 25, fuselage door warnings lit up in SpiceJet planes while taking off, forcing them to halt their journeys and fly back.

On June 19, an engine on a SpiceJet flight headed to Delhi with 185 passengers caught fire moments after the take-off from Patna airport, and the plane was forced to make an emergency landing minutes later.

The engine had malfunctioned due to a bird hit.

On June 19, once again, a Jabalpur-bound SpiceJet flight had to return to Delhi as the cabin pressurization system in the plane malfunctioned.

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