MUMBAI: Budget carrier SpiceJet may face legal action after India’s aviation authority asked the airline to explain why it had reported more than half a dozen air safety incidents in the past two months.
The airline reported two separate incidents on Tuesday, with one Dubai-bound aircraft making an emergency landing in Pakistan after a malfunctioning cockpit light. Another aircraft was forced to make a priority landing in Mumbai on the same day after its outer windshield developed a crack.
And a week earlier, another flight made an emergency landing in New Delhi when a SpiceJet plane’s cabin filled with smoke soon after take-off. The airline said passengers were safely disembarked after all three incidents.
But SpiceJet, which holds nearly 10 percent of India’s domestic market, had "failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable" service, said a Tuesday notice issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The notice gave the airline three weeks to show cause as to why it should not face legal action, which under Indian regulations could include fines or the grounding of aircraft. The regulator said SpiceJet had also failed to pay vendors and suppliers on time, which had led to shortages of spare parts at the airline.
"SpiceJet is in receipt of the DGCA notice and will be responding within the specified time period," a spokesperson for the company told AFP on Wednesday. "All our aircraft were audited a month ago by the regulator and found to be safe," he added. SpiceJet has reported at least eight operational incidents since May.