Restrictions To Remain On SpiceJet As “Abundant Caution”, Says Regulator

SpiceJet has been instructed by DGCA to operate only 50 per cent of departures until October 29, 2022 (source NDTV.com)

New Delhi: 

Budget carrier SpiceJet must continue to operate only limited flights for now as a safety precaution, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the airline today. DGCA said that as a matter of “abundant caution,” the airline has been told to operate only 50 per cent of departures until October 29, 2022.

The airline has been under the aviation regulator’s safety scanner following multiple instances reported in the last couple of months, including diversions to different cities, turn-backs and one instance where a SpiceJet flight had to land in Karachi as a precautionary measure.

Elaborating on its instructions to the airline, DGCA said in a statement today: “SpiceJet can only increase number of flights by demonstrating sufficient technical support and financial resources.” The statement further said that the airline will be subjected to “enhanced surveillance by civil aviation authorities”.

The aviation regulator added that there has been an “appreciable reduction in number of safety incidents” since the restrictions on flights operated by the airline came into force.

“Any increase in the number of departures beyond 50% of the total number of departures approved under the Summer Schedule 2022, shall be subjected to the airline demonstrating to the satisfaction of DGCA that it has sufficient technical support and financial resource to safely and efficiently undertake such enhanced capacity,” the DGCA statement further explained.

Recently, the cash-strapped airline has also struggled to make timely payments to vendors and lessors, prompting some to deregister planes. SpiceJet employees had earlier alleged delay in disbursal of salaries with the budget airline claiming that payments were being made in a “graded format”.

On July 6, a SpiceJet cargo flight to Chongking had to return to Kolkata after a malfunction was detected in the aircraft’s weather radar. The same day, the airline’s Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi due to a faulty fuel indicator, while its Kandla-Mumbai flight made an emergency landing in Mumbai after cracks developed on its windshield mid-air. On July 2, a SpiceJet flight to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after smoke was detected in the cabin while the aircraft was at an altitude of 5,000 feet.

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