After SpiceJet Ltd. demonstrates it has the necessary engineering strength and financial capacity to stockpile spare parts, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would let the airline to resume flights in a “graded way,” the aviation regulator told Reuters.
Due to SpiceJet’s inability to develop “a safe, efficient, and reliable” service, the DGCA last week took an unusual action and reduced the airline’s authorised departures by 50% for a period of eight weeks.
The DGCA noted in its warning that SpiceJet had “poor internal safety oversight” and that financial difficulties at the company were causing a “frequent shortage of spares” while placing the airline under “enhanced surveillance.”
Arun Kumar, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) chairman, stated that SpiceJet will be allowed to gradually restore its capacity after proving it has resolved the shortages of staff and spare parts.
“At this point of time we feel they can only operate 50% of their capacity without compromising safety,” Mr Kumar said, during an interview at DGCA’s headquarters in Delhi.
According to Mr. Kumar, an examination of SpiceJet’s business practises and a physical audit of the airline revealed that it was “incapable” of operating at full capacity.
The choice does not imply that the airline is unfit to fly; rather, it is a preventative measure to assure that there will be no safety issue in the future. Not interfering with service is not our goal.
In response to a request for comment regarding the DGCA’s findings, SpiceJet remained silent.
The airline has formerly asserted that it is confident in its ability to expand its operations and allay any worries the regulator may have.
Since May, SpiceJet has reported almost a dozen safety concerns, including a side window outer panel that shattered in mid-flight and a broken indication light. On July 5, the DGCA sent the airline a letter asking why no enforcement action should be taken against it.
Since that time, SpiceJet’s operations have improved, according to Mr. Kumar.
“An aircraft is a complex machine. When components break down or malfunction…there is a process that needs to be followed to deal with it,” Mr Kumar said.
Mr. Kumar stated that the DGCA is aiming to hire more personnel in order to maintain its monitoring of the industry as the domestic aviation market has grown to pre-pandemic levels, new airlines are joining, and existing ones are expanding.
The regulator has around 1,300 employees and performs 3,700 checks annually. In the upcoming year, it intends to hire 400 more people, mostly for its technical team, Mr. Kumar said.
“The point is to make ourselves more robust to take on growth in the market,” he said.