India aviation regulator halves SpiceJet’s capacity after snags


India’s aviation regulator on Wednesday ordered SpiceJet (SPJT.NS) to slash its approved fleet to 50% this summer for eight weeks citing safety snags and said it will subject the domestic airline to “enhanced surveillance”.

Any increase in number of departures beyond 50% would require the airline to show it has sufficient technical support and financial resources to safely upgrade its capacity, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in an interim order.

“During (the) eights weeks period, the airline shall be subjected to “enhanced surveillance” by DGCA. Further decision in this matter shall be taken thereafter,” the regulator said.

Earlier this month, DGCA had issued a warning notice to SpiceJet after a review of incidents, which included a side windshield outer pane that cracked mid-flight and a malfunctioning indicator light.

SpiceJet shares have recovered about 6% this month after dropping to March 2020 lows following DGCA’s notice.

SpiceJet sought to reassure its customers and travel partners saying it will operate flights as per schedules and there will be “no flight cancellation as a consequence of this order.”

“Due to the current lean travel season, SpiceJet like other airlines had already rescheduled its flight operations. Hence, there will be absolutely no impact on our flight operations,” the airline said in a statement.