SpiceJet Told To Cut Half Of Flights Following Safety Audit

India’s aviation watchdog has ordered low-cost carrier SpiceJet to cut half of its planned flights over the next eight weeks. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will place the airline under “enhanced surveillance” during this period and decide if any further action is required in the future.

The DGCA said in its order,

“In view of findings of various spot checks, inspections and the reply to the show cause notice submitted by SpiceJet, for continued sustenance of safe and reliable air transport service, the number of departures of SpiceJet are hereby restricted to 50% of the number of departures approved under Summer Schedule 2022 for a period of 8 weeks. ”

SpiceJet has had an abysmal safety record for the past few weeks, but this latest development is a little puzzling. It comes exactly two days after India’s Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Gen. VK Singh (Retd.), Said in parliament that the DGCA has found no major safety concerns after subjecting 48 SpiceJet planes to 53 spot checks over five days.

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SpiceJet says operations won’t be impacted

Shortly after the DGCA order was made public, SpiceJet acknowledged it and said it intends to fully comply with the regulator. However, the carrier also said its operations will remain unaffected by the restriction as it has already “rescheduled operations.”

SpiceJet has been asked to operate only 50% of all approved flights in the summer 2022 schedule. Photo: Akshay Mantri

SpiceJet’s complete statement said:

“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. 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. ”

A history of safety incidents

SpiceJet has been in the news for all the wrong reasons these days. Eight flights of the Indian airline have reported mid-air safety-related incidents in the past two months, but the issues began much earlier. In September 2021, the DGCA conducted a Financial assessment of the airline and concluded that it was operating on a’cash & carry’ basis. Meaning that no suppliers were ready to provide SpiceJet with required parts unless the airline paid for them up-front. , and as a result, SpiceJet’s planes were often found flying by invoking Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL).

The regulator said it had received the airline’s response on the matter before issuing the order to restrict 50% of flights.

What do you make of the DGCA’s decision to restrict flight operations at SpiceJet? Do you think the regulator’s actions are proportionate to the seriousness of the situation, or is it just a slap on the wrist for SpiceJet, especially since it will not affect the airline’s operations?

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