August 8, 2022
Spicejet Ordered to Cut 50% of its Flights
Airlines Safety

Spicejet Ordered to Cut 50% of its Flights

DALLAS – India’s Spicejet (SG) is witnessing its worst ever period after repeated in-flight emergencies and technical malfunctions amongst its aircraft.

Indian Aviation regulator DGCA has stepped in and ordered Spicejet to operate only a maximum of 50% of its flight network for eight weeks after several of its planes reported technical malfunction recently.

During these eight weeks, the budget carrier will undergo enhanced surveillance by the Indian DGCA.

The DGCA order stated on Wednesday that “In view of the findings of various spot checks, inspections, and the reply to the show cause notice submitted by SpiceJet for the continued sustenance of a safe and reliable transport service, the number of departures of SpiceJet is hereby restricted to 50 percent of the number of departures approved under summer schedule 2022 for a period of eight weeks.”

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SpiceJet VT-SQA Bombardier Dash 8-Q402. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

How Does Spicejet React?

Every summer and winter, airlines list their new schedules and for the ongoing summer schedule, DGCA approved 4,192 weekly domestic flights in March. But given the new order, at a 50% reduction, a meer 2,096 weekly flights are all SG can operate for the coming eight weeks.

The order further stated, “Any increase in the number of departures beyond 50 percent shall be subject to the airline demonstrating to the satisfaction of DGCA that it has sufficient technical support and financial resources to safely and efficiently undertake such enhanced capacity.”

Spicejet ( Hifly Malta) 9H-LIS Airbus A321-231. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Comments from SpiceJet

A SpiceJet spokesperson told Business Today TV that the carrier will act as per the directions of the DGCA. “Due to the current lean travel season, SpiceJet like other airlines had already rescheduled its flight operations. Hence, there will be absolutely no impact on our flight operations,” the spokesperson added.

“…Our flights will operate as per schedule in the coming days and weeks.” There will be no flight cancellation as a consequence of this order,” the spokesperson stated.

It’s rather interesting to note that the carrier will face no cancellations even after the 50% restriction, and there’s only one possible reason for that: the airline is already operating 2096 weekly flights or lower.

SpiceJet VT-SUX Bombardier DHC-8-402Q Dash 8. Photo: Albetto Cucini/Airways

SpiceJet Incidents

SpiceJet’s planes were involved in at least eight incidents of technical malfunction between June 19 and July 5, (eight incidents in 18 days), following which the DGCA on July 6 issued a show-cause notice to the airline, stating that “poor internal safety oversight” and “inadequate maintenance actions” have resulted in the degradation of safety margins.

Until the new audit is fully completed, the DGCA has asked Spicejet to use only certain specific aircraft (10) for operations only after confirming to the regulator that all reported defects/malfunctions are rectified.

Featured image: SpiceJet VT-MXA Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

EASA commercial pilot | Flight Instructor | Aviation Journalist & writer based in Germany.

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