Budget airline carrier SpiceJet has clarified that contrary to reports, there was "no incident or a safety scare" at its Madurai-bound flight from Dubai on Monday. However, the airline says the SpiceJet flight SG23 was delayed due to a "last-minute technical issue". It says an alternative flight was arranged for passengers and that the aircraft that suffered tech issues finally flew back to India as a "commercial flight" only.
"On July 11, 2022, SpiceJet flight SG23 operating from Dubai to Madurai was delayed due to a last-minute technical issue. Alternate aircraft was arranged immediately which brought passengers back to India. Flight delays can happen with any airline. There has been no incident or a safety scare on this flight. After the minor technical issue was resolved, the first aircraft flew back to India as a commercial flight," a SpiceJet spokesperson tells Fortune India.
As per a news agency, an airline engineer, during an inspection before the take-off, found the plane's nose wheel strut was more compressed than usual, following which the plane was grounded for further examination.
The Gurugram-based airline has been faced with a barrage of negative news off-late, with reports claiming this is the ninth incident involving a SpiceJet plane in the past 24 days. Notably, the aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has also issued a show-cause notice to the airline for alleged internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance.
The show-cause notice, issued by DGCA on July 5, says that on numerous occasions, the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing to the destination with degraded safety margins.
However last week, SpiceJet said all its aircraft were audited a month ago by the aviation regulator, which found them safe. "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," the Ajay Singh-led airline tweeted.
Many incidents have happened involving the SpiceJet planes in the recent past. On July 5, a SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft carrying passengers from Delhi to Dubai had to be landed in Karachi, Pakistan, after developing a technical malfunction. The company had to send a replacement aircraft to Karachi, which took the passengers to Dubai. 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. 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.