25 Jul 2022

Spot check on SpiceJet planes found no major violations

The aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), conducted 53 spot checks of 48 SpiceJet aircraft between July 9 and July 13 and found no major safety violations, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said on Monday.

"However, as a precautionary measure, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed SpiceJet to operate certain identified aircraft (10) only after confirming to the regulator that all reported defects/malfunctions are rectified," Singh said in a statement. written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

SpiceJet aircraft were involved in at least eight incidents of technical malfunction during an 18-day period starting June 19, after which the DGCA issued a notice to the airline on July 6 saying that "poor internal safety oversight" and "inadequate maintenance actions" had led to reduced safety reserves .

Just three days after the notification was issued, the regulator began conducting spot checks on SpiceJet planes, Mr. Singh said. The random checks were completed on July 13.

"A total of 53 spot checks were carried out on 48 aircraft, which did not reveal any serious serious findings or safety violations," he said.

DGCA's safety oversight process involves a series of sequential follow-up steps that include communication of observations or findings to airlines for corrective action, review of corrective action taken by airlines for a decision, and initiation of enforcement action consisting of warnings, suspensions, cancellations or deposits financial penalties to the person or airline concerned, he noted.

In its July 6 notice to SpiceJet, the regulator said the airline had failed to "establish safe, efficient and reliable air services" under the 1937 Aircraft Rules.

"A review (of the incidents) shows that poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance activities (as most incidents were related to either component failure or system-related failure) led to a reduction in safety margins," the announcement added.

The regulator gave the airline three weeks to respond to the notice.

On July 5, a SpiceJet cargo plane bound for Chongqing, China returned to Kolkata when the pilots realized after take-off that its weather radar was not working.

On July 5 itself, the airline's Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi due to a malfunctioning fuel gauge and its Kandla-Mumbai flight made a priority landing in the Maharashtra capital after its windshield cracked in mid-air.

On July 2, a Jabalpur-bound SpiceJet flight returned to Delhi after crew members spotted smoke in the cabin at around 5,000 feet.

The fuselage door warning lighted up on two separate SpiceJet planes during takeoff on June 24 and June 25, forcing the aircraft to abandon its route and return.

On 19 June, an engine caught fire on the carrier's Delhi-bound plane carrying 185 passengers shortly after it took off from Patna Airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. Engine failed due to bird strike.

In another incident on June 19, a SpiceJet flight to Jabalpur had to return to Delhi due to cabin pressurization problems.

Other airlines' planes have also been involved in technical malfunction incidents over the past 45 days.

The DGCA launched a two-month special audit of all Indian carriers on July 19 after its spot checks earlier this month found insufficient and unqualified technical staff certifying the carriers' planes before they take off, officials said.

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