A SpiceJet cargo plane flying to China yesterday had to come back to Kolkata for a fix after its weather radar developed a snag, sources said. After repairs, the plane — from the airline's freight unit SpiceXpress — took off again for Chongqing, it is learnt.
For SpiceJet, this was one of three incidents related to malfunctions in a day. None of these was a flight risk or emergency as such, though the pilots took precautionary measures. Counting these in, the private carrier has seen eight reported incidents of malfunctions in the last three weeks -- none caused serious harm to crew or passengers.
As the regulator issued a show-cause notice to the airline, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asserted that passenger safety was paramount. The airline has reacted saying "no aircraft will ever fly unless it is 100 per cent safe".
Passenger safety is paramount. Even the smallest error hindering safety will be thoroughly investigated & course-corrected. https://t.co/UD1dJb05wS— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) July 6, 2022
In the first reported incident yesterday, a flight from Delhi to Dubai had to make an unscheduled landing at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan, after its fuel indicator malfunctioned and showed rapid depletion. Pilots suspected a fuel leak and opted to make a landing to be safe. The 138 passengers had to wait for nearly 11 hours at Karachi before an alternate flight sent from India took them to the UAE.
Also yesterday, a SpiceJet flight from Kandla (Gujarat) to Mumbai had to make a priority landing at its destination after its outer windshield developed a crack mid-air. A flight is given priority in landing if it can't wait its turn.
The other incidents over the past three weeks — all of which have been brought to the attention of the aviation regulator — include two-door warnings, a bird hit, oil leakage from an engine, and a pressurisation problem.
"We are concerned over passengers' safety. A team has been formed to investigate all the incidents thoroughly and submit the report at the earliest," a senior official of the Directorate General Of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said.