In light of frequent flight mishaps, Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh said on Monday, 25 July, that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had conducted a total of 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet flights between 9-13 July and did not find any safety violations.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, VK Singh said, “A total of 53 spot checks were carried out on 48 aircraft which did not find any major significant finding or safety violation."
He added, "However, as a safety measure, the DGCA ordered SpiceJet to use certain identified aircraft (10) for operations only after confirming to the regulator that all reported defects/malfunctions are rectified.”
Since 19 June, SpiceJet aircraft have been involved in at least eight technical malfunction incidents.
DGCA Sends Show-Cause Notice to SpiceJet
Following this, the DGCA had issued a show-cause notice to the airline, on 6 July, for "poor internal safety oversight" and "inadequate maintenance actions" which resulted in degradation of safety margins and violated rules under the Aircraft Rules, 1937.
Singh said that the regulator started conducting the spot checks just three days after the DGCA’s notice and were completed on 13 July.
The DGCA had given the airline three weeks to respond to the notice. Meanwhile, SpiceJet said in a statement that it will respond to the notice within the specified time period, and was committed to ensuring a safe operation for its passengers and crew.
It said, "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."
An Overview of the Incidents
One SpiceJet Q400 aircraft, operating SG 3324, from Gujarat's Kandla, on Tuesday, 6 July, was forced to carry out a priority landing in Mumbai after its windshield cracked mid-air. The plane was at an altitude 23,000 feet at the time of the malfunction.
In another incident, SpiceJet's Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi as the fuel indicator started malfunctioning.
The Boeing 737 Max aircraft made an emergency landing at Karachi airport at around 9:15 am after the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authorities permitted the Indian plane to land at the Jinnah International Airport on humanitarian grounds.
This left 138 passengers stranded in Karachi for nearly 11 hours after taking off from New Delhi in the morning.
In the third incident, a China-bound SpiceJet freighter plane returned to Kolkata, on Tuesday, 5 July, after the pilots realised that the aircraft's weather radar was not functioning.
This made it at least the eighth incident of a technical malfunction affecting a SpiceJet aircraft in the last 18 days.
(With inputs from PTI.)