The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has removed SpiceJet from its enhanced surveillance regime, signalling a resolution to the airline’s recent challenges, said officials. The low-cost carrier had been facing a series of headwinds that prompted the regulator to closely monitor its operations.

The events leading to the enhanced surveillance began on July 27, 2022, when the DGCA directed SpiceJet to reduce its total number of flights by 50 per cent for eight weeks following repeated safety incidents. During this period, the airline was placed under intense scrutiny to ensure compliance with safety protocols. These restrictions were later lifted on October 30 of the same year.

However, due to the financial struggles faced by SpiceJet in the following months, the DGCA decided to place the airline under enhanced surveillance again. Multiple lessors sought to repossess aircraft leased to the carrier, although some of these cases were eventually settled by the airline. Consequently, on July 11, the DGCA reinstated the enhanced surveillance regime.

Spot checks

In response to the DGCA’s concerns about inadequate maintenance during the monsoon season in the previous year, the civil aviation regulator conducted 51 spot checks at 11 different locations, focussing on SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 and Bombardier DHC Q-400 fleet. A total of 23 aircraft were inspected during these spot checks, leading to 95 observations. Fortunately, most of these findings were routine in nature.

SpiceJet took prompt action in line with DGCA guidelines to address maintenance-related issues that were identified during the spot checks. The airline’s dedication to resolving these concerns played a significant role in its removal from the enhanced surveillance regime. The enhanced surveillance involved increased night surveillance and spot checks to ensure the airline’s adherence to safety standards.

A senior DGCA official clarified that SpiceJet’s placement under enhanced surveillance was prompted by past observations of inadequate maintenance and incidents during the monsoon season. The official stated: “Suitable maintenance action was taken by the airline to address the findings in accordance with DGCA guidelines. As a consequence, SpiceJet has been taken off the enhanced surveillance regime by DGCA.”