SpiceJet said its freighter aircraft, which was heading to Chongqing in China, returned to Kolkata on Tuesday as the pilots realised after take off that its weather radar was not working. This is at least the eighth incident of technical malfunction happening on a SpiceJet aircraft in the last 18 days.
“On July 5, 2022, SpiceJet Boeing 737 freighter was scheduled to operate from Kolkata to Chongqing. After take-off, the weather radar was not showing the weather. The PIC (pilot-in-command) decided to return to Kolkata. The aircraft landed safely at Kolkata,” SpiceJet spokesperson told.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet in connection with the degradation of the safety margins of its aircraft.
The plane that returned to Kolkata was the third such flight that developed glitch on Tuesday. Earlier that day, SpiceJet’s Delhi-Dubai flight suffered a mid-air malfunction in its fuel indicator on Tuesday and was diverted to Karachi and cracks developed on the windshield of another plane of the budget carrier at a height of 23,000 feet forcing a priority landing in Mumbai in a double whammy for the airline.
SpiceJet, after receiving the DGCA notice, said that it would respond within the specified time period. “We are committed to ensuring a safe operation for our passengers and crew.” said the airline.
“We are an IATA-IOSA certified airline. SpiceJet successfully completed the meticulous audit program for recertification in October 2021. We have been regularly audited by DGCA. All our aircraft were audited a month ago by the regulator and found to be safe. All flights of SpiceJet are conducted in compliance with the applicable regulations of the DGCA Civil Aviation Regulations on the subject,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
Since June 19, there have been seven incidents involving SpiceJet planes. On June 19, an engine on the carrier’s Delhi-bound aircraft carrying 185 passengers caught fire soon after the takeoff from Patna airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. The engine malfunctioned because of a bird hit.
In another incident on June 19, a flight for Jabalpur had to return to Delhi due to cabin pressurisation issues. Fuselage door warnings lit up on two separate planes while taking off on June 24 and June 25, forcing them to abandon their journeys and return.
On July 2, a flight heading to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after the crew members observed smoke in the cabin at around 5,000 feet altitude. Notably, SpiceJet has been making losses for the last three years.
The carrier incurred a net loss of Rs 316 crore, Rs 934 crore and Rs 998 crore in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively. Shares of SpiceJet fell by over 2 per cent in the backdrop of a series of technical incidents involving the airline.
On Tuesday when its Dubai-bound plane was diverted to Karachi the airline’s scrip dropped 2.33 per cent to close at Rs 37.65 apiece on BSE. The scrip, which opened at Rs 38.50, touched an intra-day low of Rs 37.45.
During the session, it had recorded an intra-day high of Rs 38.95. The 52-week low of the carrier’s shares is Rs 37.15.
(With inputs from PTI)