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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday, 27 July, announced that they had curtailed the SpiceJet flight operations to 50% for the next eight weeks after the airlines reported multiple snags in a short period of time.

"The number of departures of M/s Spicejet are hereby restricted to 50% of the number of departures approved under Summer Schedule 2022 for a period of 8 weeks from the date of issue of this order, in accordance with powers conferred under rule 19A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937", the interim order by the DGCA read.

Spicejet airlines had reported at least eight technical malfunction incidents in 18 days. Following this Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh on Monday had said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) did not find any major safety violations during spot checks on SpiceJet aircraft.

As many as 53 spot checks were conducted by the aviation regulator on 48 SpiceJet aircrafts between July 9 and July 13, informed the minister. The Union Minister in his written reply in the Rajya Sabha, said that as a safety measure, the DGCA has ordered SpiceJet to use certain identified aircraft for operations only after confirming to the regulator that all reported defects/malfunctions are rectified.

The DGCA order cited poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance action. They said that these conditions led to the degradation of safety margins with SpiceJet airplanes.

The DGCA investigated on reported incidents on aircraft operated by Spicejet from1 April to 5 July. “On a number of occasions, the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing to the destination with degraded safety margins" the order stated.

The interim order also stated that the airlines company 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.

DGCA also pointed out that suppliers of the airline company has not been paid regularly. “Financial assessment carried out by DGCA in September, 2021 has revealed that M/s Spicejet is operating on cash & carry and suppliers/approved vendors are not being paid on regular basis leading to the shortage of spares and frequent invoking of MELS."

The DGCA order concluded by saying that the airlines will now work under increased surveillance. "During these eight weeks period, the airline shall be subjected to "Enhanced Surveillance" by DGCA. Further decision in the matter shall be taken thereafter."

Spicejet comment

To the DGCA offer SpiceJet released an official statement where they said that flights in the coming weeks will not be cancelled, much to the relief of their passengers. 

“We want to reassure our passengers and travel partners that 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 statement said. 

“DGCA’s observation that SpiceJet is taking measures for arresting the trend of incidents is very encouraging and we will continue to work under the close guidance of the regulator", the statement added.

SpiceJet planes were involved in technical malfunction incidents since June 19, following which the DGCA had issued a show-cause notice to the airline on July 6, stating that ‘poor internal safety oversight’ and ‘inadequate maintenance actions’ have led to degradation of safety margins.

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