Aviation Regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended restrictions on budget carrier SpiceJet to operate only 50 per cent of departures till October 29, 2022. Before this in July, the regulator had imposed similar restrictions on SpiceJet flights that were approved for the summer schedule, following numerous flight safety incidents and a show-cause notice. On Wednesday, the regulator said the restrictions have been extended as a matter of "abundant caution".
In July, DGCA issued a showcause notice to SpiceJet following eight technical malfunction incidents involving the airline's planes. After a review of safety protocols, the watchdog said its review showed “poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions” by the airline, as per news reports.
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It is to be noted that since April 2022, the airline reportedly ignored warnings over safety measures. Later DGCA issued a notice, where it clarified that SpiceJet had failed to "establish safe, efficient and reliable air services" under the terms of Rule 134 and Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.
Following that on July 26, the regulator said that the airline would mandatorily operate just half of its flights for eight weeks effective immediately.
As per news reports, the DGCA had said the airline shall be under its “enhanced surveillance” in the next eight weeks. Its performance during this time period can help it resume its full operation capacity, the regulator had said.
“Any increase in the number of flights will 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”, a DGCA note stated in July.
On Wednesday, the regulator mentioned that though there is an appreciable reduction in the number of safety incidents, the SpiceJet needs to sustain these efforts for safe and reliable air transport service
In its reply, SpiceJet had reportedly said the DGCA restriction won't have any impact on its flight operations as it was already running half its approved capacity. It had stressed that there will be no flight cancellation as a consequence of this order.
Leave without pay
On Tuesday, the Gurgaon-headquartered airline had asked 80 of its pilots to go on a three-month leave without pay. The airline clarified that the move was a temporary measure to rationalise costs. The pilots who have been sent on leave are from the airline's Boeing and Bombardier fleets.
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In a statement, the airline said: "This measure, which is in line with SpiceJet's policy of not retrenching any employee which the airline steadfastly followed even during the peak of the Covid pandemic, will help rationalise the pilot strength vis- -vis the aircraft fleet."
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