SpiceJet in trouble: After back-to-back incidents of aircraft malfunction, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued show-cause notice to the airline. In a tweet, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said: "Passenger safety is paramount. Even the smallest error hindering safety will be thoroughly investigated & course-corrected."
While issuing the show-cause notice, the aviation ministry said: "In light of the recent incidences of technical malfunction with regard to @flyspicejet flights in the last 18 days, the @DGCAIndia has issued a show-cause notice to the air carrier."
In response, SpiceJet said: "We'll be responding within a specified time period and are committed to ensuring a safe operation for our passengers and crew. We are an IATA-IOSA-certified airline. All our aircraft were audited a month ago by the regulator and found to be safe."
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 notice issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated.
"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 added.
The DGCA has given the airline three weeks to respond to the notice.
"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 a shortage of spares and frequent invoking of MELs (minimum equipment lists)," the notice read.
Reacting to the DGCA notice, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asserted that passenger safety is paramount.
"Even the smallest error hindering safety will be thoroughly investigated and course-corrected," the minister said in a tweet. At least eight incidents of technical malfunction have taken place on SpiceJet planes in the last 18 days.
Will be 'doubly careful’, saysSpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh
SpiceJet will now be "doubly careful" and strengthen inspection of aircraft before they leave to operate flights, airline's CMD Ajay Singh said on Wednesday. Aviation regulator DGCA issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet on Wednesday following eight technical malfunction incidents involving the airline's planes in the last 18 days.
"We will work with them (DGCA) to ensure that if they feel that there are any gaps at all in our system, we will address them. There is nothing more important than safety," Singh told PTI in an interview.
He said none of the incidents that have happened in the last few weeks had anything to do with shortage of spare parts. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in its show-cause notice, mentioned the financial audit of SpiceJet in September 2021 according to which the airline is not paying component vendors regularly and that has led to shortage of spare parts.
"A lot of these incidents that are being reported are relatively minor in nature and happen to every airline. This is nothing unique," he said.
On July 5, 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.