DGCA extends 50 pc cap on SpiceJet’s flights till next month

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NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday extended the 50 per cent restriction on SpiceJet flights till October 29.

“Based on the review of the safety performance of Spicejet, the authority issued Interim Order of even number dated July 27, 2022 whereby restricting the number of departures of Spicejet to 50 per cent of the number of departures approved under Summer Schedule 2022 for a period of eight weeks,” the DGCA said in its order.

Whereas the review has indicated that there is an appreciable reduction in the number of safety incidents, it said. “However, as a matter of abundant caution, the competent authority has decided that the restriction, as imposed on July 27 this year, shall continue to be in force till the end of the summer schedule on September 29, in accordance with the powers conferred under rule 19A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937,” it further read.

The DGCA said that any increase in the number of departures beyond 50 per cent, as approved during this period, shall be subject to the airline demonstrating to the satisfaction of the DGCA that it has sufficient technical support and financial resource to safely and efficiently undertake such enhanced capacity. During this period, the airline shall be subject to “Enhanced surveillance” by DGCA, it reads.

On July 27, reviewing the reply of Spicejet to a show cause notice, the DGCA had restricted the airline to operating only 50% of flights for eight weeks. In a letter to Spicejet, the Joint Director General of Civil Aviation mentioned that the reported incidents on aircraft operated by Spicejet from April 1 to July 5 2022 were reviewed and it was observed that on a number of occasions, the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing to the destination with degraded safety margins. There is poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions, which have resulted in the degradation of the safety margins.

A financial assessment carried out by the DGCA in September 2021 had revealed that Spicejet was operating on cash and approved vendors were not being paid on regular basis, leading to the shortage of spares and frequent invoking of Minimum Equipment Lists (MELS).

It was deduced that Spicejet failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable air transport service under the terms of Rule 134, read with Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and accordingly, a show cause notice was issued on July 5, 2022, to the Accountable Manager of M/s Spicejet Ltd. to explain within three weeks of receipt of the notice as to why action should not be taken against the airline.

“On July 25, Spicejet submitted a reply to the show cause notice. The same has been reviewed at an appropriate level and it has been observed that Spicejet is taking measures for arresting the trend of incidents, however, the airline needs to sustain these efforts for safe and reliable air transport service,” the letter had read. (ANI)

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