No need to panic: DGCA chief on recent flight snags
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar on Sunday stated that recent technical issues with domestic flights would unlikely spark any chaos. He claimed that the nation's civil aviation space is "absolutely safe" as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations were followed. According to Kumar, international flights flying to India too faced technical issues.
Why does this story matter?
The DGCA chief's statement comes at a time when Indian airlines are marred with technical difficulties. Last week Civil Aviation Ministry informed the Parliament that at least 478 technical snags were reported in the last year (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022). In fact, a LocalCircles study conducted in May 2022 said Indian airlines have compromised customers' comfort after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Snags routine and happen with all airlines: Kumar
Kumar claimed that the recent events were normal in the aviation industry. "All the snags experienced are routine and happen with all airlines and all types of fleet," Kumar told PTI. As per reports, more than a dozen cases of Indian carriers experiencing technical difficulties have recently come to light. Most notably is SpiceJet, and the DGCA is keeping a careful eye on the situation.
International flights too faced identical difficulties
Although specifics concerning the difficulties encountered by the international carriers were not revealed Kumar said those were identical to those encountered by Indian airlines. "In the last 16 days, even for the foreign operators who come to India, we have seen 15 technical snags, which have been attended to and rectified," he added.
What else did DGCA reveal?
"What most of them (recent incidents of technical snags) required was troubleshooting, replacement of some component say windshield due to outer layer crack, defective valve, high-pressure switch, landing gear up lock, hydraulic accumulator or an engine," Kumar said. DGCA has started a special audit of airlines to address possible issues and curtailed the operations of SpiceJet, among other measures.
SpiceJet ordered to run only 50% flights
On Wednesday, DGCA directed the private airline SpiceJet to operate only 50 percent of its flights for eight weeks. The move comes following a series of snags that interrupted its flight operations and forced emergency landings. The aviation regulator ordered this after various spot checks, inspections, and SpiceJet's response to the show cause notice, NDTV reported.
Severe penalty on aviation industry
Action against SpiceJet might be the worst punishment imposed on any airline in recent memory. Eight incidences of flying safety were documented in just 18 days. The DGCA directive had said that SpiceJet's departures will be expanded if the airline "demonstrated to the satisfaction" of the aviation regulator "about sufficient technical support and financial resource to safely and efficiently undertake such enhanced capacity."