Indian no-frill carrier, SpiceJet, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, has heard from the Indian aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and it is not all good news. After eight malfunction incidents in the past eighteen days, the regulator has sent them a show-cause notice, granting them three weeks to explain why action should not be taken against them.
The Indian regulator said that SpiceJet has failed to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services under Aircraft Rules, 1937. A copy of the notice has been reviewed by AirInsight and is enclosed below.
On July 2, 2022, a SpiceJet flight heading to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after the crew members observed smoke in the cabin at around 5,000 feet altitude. On July 5, 2022, a SpiceJet Delhi-Dubai flight, operated by a Boeing 737 MAX, suffered a mid-air malfunction in its fuel indicator and was diverted to Karachi. Another SpiceJet flight developed cracks on the windshield at a height of 23,000 feet, forcing a priority landing in Mumbai on the same day.
#SpiceJetStatement: On July 5, 2022, SpiceJet B737 aircraft operating flight SG-11 (Delhi – Dubai) was diverted to Karachi due to an indicator light malfunctioning. The aircraft landed safely at Karachi and passengers were safely disembarked. >>
— SpiceJet (@flyspicejet) July 5, 2022
The same day, SpiceJet said its freighter aircraft, which was heading to Chongqing in China, returned to Kolkata as the pilots realised after take-off that its weather radar was not working.
In June 2022, the fuselage door warnings lit up on two separate SpiceJet planes while taking off forcing them to abandon their journeys and return. On another flight, an engine on the carrier’s Delhi-bound aircraft carrying 185 passengers caught fire soon after the take off from Patna airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. In this case, the engine malfunctioned because of a bird hit.
The state of SpiceJet’s aircraft interiors had recently also sparked a spot inspection from the regulator for aircraft of SpiceJet as well as other airlines.
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is expected to conduct an audit of India’s air safety readiness in 2022. The ICAO audit usually covers areas such as aerodromes, air navigation services, certification, aircraft airworthiness, flight operations, airlines, among others. India’s regulator would do well to have a good look at the troubled airline before things get out of hand.
Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe.