A SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft carrying passengers from Delhi to Dubai had to be landed in Karachi, Pakistan, after developing a technical malfunction. All aboard the plane are safe, says the airline. The company says a replacement aircraft is being sent to Karachi, which will now take the passengers to Dubai.

An airline spokesperson says "no emergency was declared" and that it was a "normal landing". "On July 5, 2022, SpiceJet B737 aircraft operating flight SG-11 (Delhi - Dubai) was diverted to Karachi due to an indicator light malfunctioning. The aircraft landed safely in Karachi and passengers were safely disembarked. No emergency was declared and the aircraft made a normal landing. There was no earlier report of any malfunction with the aircraft. Passengers have been served refreshments. A replacement aircraft is being sent to Karachi that will take the passengers to Dubai," says the SpiceJet spokesperson.

The aviation regulator, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), has also reportedly launched an inquiry into the incident. Many incidents have happened involving the SpiceJet planes in the recent past. On July 2, SpiceJet's Delhi-Jabalpur flight had to be returned as crew members observed smoke in the cabin mid-air due to oil leakage in one of its engines.

In a similar incident, a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800, with about 200 people on board, had to be returned to Patna after take-off on June 20 as sparks were observed in one of its engines following a bird hit it during the take-off. The Patna airport is considered one of the country's critical airports when it comes to an emergency landing and is surrounded by trees and a railway line.

On the previous day, in another incident involving SpiceJet, a Dash8 Q400 flight from Delhi to Jabalpur also had to be returned to Delhi after the take-off as the crew encountered a so-called 'pressurisation snag'. In December last year, SpiceJet's Max plane was returned to Mumbai after the take-off following an issue with its oil filter light. All aboard the plane landed safely.

SpiceJet operates a fleet of Boeing and Q-400s aircraft, including the new-generation Boeing 737-700s, 737-800s and 737-900ERs. The airline recently added to its fleet the B737- MAX 8 aircraft, which are newly designed, state-of-art aircraft with new fuel-efficient engines. By the end of 2022, the airline hopes to have at least another 7 Max flying, improving overall economics for the airline.

Boeing Max 737 aeroplanes were banned in 2019 across the world after shocking plane crashes across Indonesia and Ethiopia due to issues with its MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) software. In both these incidents, all aboard the planes were killed. After the U.S. regulator cleared the planes for flying, the DGCA also lifted the ban on Boeing 737 Max aircraft after two-and-a-half-years in August 2021.

Meanwhile, on June 14, 2022, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet Ajay Singh publicly exhorted the government to intervene and ease some of the pain that airlines were facing on account of soaring ATF prices. His plea was seen by many as the noose tightening around the necks of a sector and an airline that has been gasping for breath since early 2020.

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