SpiceJet plans to replace all its older Boeing aircraft with the new Max model in a phased manner. Between now and the next calendar year, the airline will induct around 20 new Max planes into its fleet.

“As part of this modernisation plan, we are returning older aircraft in a phased manner, including these three aircraft (leased from the Irish firm). These returns have been planned and will not have any impact on our operations,” the company said.

SpiceJet emphasised that it had already returned 12 old Boeing aircraft to lessors in the last calendar year. “We have 13 MAX aircraft in our fleet and the new inductions would begin from October 2022,” the airline said.

Earlier, Ireland-based leasing company Awas Ireland Ltd requested the Indian aviation watchdog DGCA to deregister three aircraft it had leased to SpiceJet, over unpaid dues. Currently, two of these aircraft are parked at Varanasi airport and one in Amristar airport. The registration numbers of  the aircraft are VT-SYW, VT-SYY and VT-SYX. 

“.The three aircraft were previously owned by Jet Airways. In 2019, post its grounding, these aircraft were leased by SpiceJet. 

This comes even as the DGCA had asked SpiceJet to operate 50 per cent of its flight capacity over technical snags found in spot checks earlier this week.

“For continued sustenance of safe and reliable air transport services, the number of departures of Spicejet are hereby restricted to 50 per cent of the number of departures approved under the Summer Schedule 2022 for a period of eight weeks from the date of issue of this order, in accordance with powers conferred under rule 19A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937,” a letter by DGCA said.

It had explained that on a number of occasions, the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing to the destination with degraded safety margins. 

A SpiceJet statement said there will be no impact on operations. “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. 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,” it added.