A SpiceJet flight made an emergency landing at the Hyderabad airport after smoke was observed in the cabin. Following this, the aviation watchdog DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has ordered a probe into the incident. There were 86 passengers onboard the flight.
The SpiceJet flight SG 3735, which was en route to Goa, made an emergency landing at around 11 pm last night, and nine flights were diverted after the incident. Sharing the image of the incident, Srikanth Mulupala, a passenger who was in the flight, tweeted, “It took 20 minutes from there and we all passengers suffered and blacked out with fear. Luckily we landed alive and safely... But what if something happens and who would be responsible, this happened clearly due to the negligence of the crew and respective department.”
The DGCA said the flight landed safely and no passengers onboard sustained any injury.
The development comes at a time when the cash-strapped airline is on the DGCA’s radar for negligence in flight operations and the passengers’ safety, following a series of incidents of operational snags in the past several months. On July 27, the aviation watchdog asked the airline to operate at a 50% capacity for the period of eight weeks. However, the restrictions have been extended till October 29.
Notably, last month, another SpiceJet flight en route to Guwahati was delayed for more than an hour with 198 passengers on board owing to a technical glitch. In April, the DGCA suspended 90 SpiceJet pilots from operating Boeing 737 Max aircraft after finding they were not properly trained. The watchdog also slapped a fine of ₹10 crore on the airline over the issue.
Apart from having operational snags, the airline is facing a double-whammy of financial constraints. Last month, the airline sent as many as 80 pilots on a three-month leave without pay to rationalise costs. In the past months, several SpiceJet employees have held demonstrations over delayed salaries.
Since 2020, SpiceJet has accumulated a loss of more than ₹2,000 crore to its vendors including lessors. In the April to June quarter this year, the airline posted a loss of ₹789 crore. Notably, in order to survive, the airline has secured ₹220 crore through the government’s recent emergency credit loan guarantee scheme (ECLGS) for the cash-strapped airlines to keep their businesses afloat. Last month, it slipped from the second position to the fifth position in terms of market share.