DGCA finds no major safety violations during 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet aircraft

Radhika Bansal

26 Jul 2022

Aviation regulator DGCA conducted 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet aircraft between July 9 and July 13 but it did not find any major safety violations, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said Monday, July 25.

”However, as a safety measure, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered SpiceJet to use certain identified aircraft (10) for operations only after confirming to the regulator that all reported defects/malfunctions are rectified,” Singh said in his written reply in Rajya Sabha.

SpiceJet planes were involved in at least eight technical malfunction incidents in the 18 days starting June 19, following which the DGCA had on July 6 issued a show-cause notice to the airline, stating that ”poor internal safety oversight” and ”inadequate maintenance actions” have resulted in degradation of safety margins.

DGCA finds no major safety violations during 53 spot checks on 48 SpiceJet aircraft

Just three days after issuing the notice, the regulator started conducting spot checks on SpiceJet planes, Singh stated. The spot checks were completed on July 13.

In its notice to SpiceJet on July 6, the regulator said that the airline has failed to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services under the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

”A total of 53 spot checks were carried out on 48 aircraft which did not find any major significant finding or safety violation. The DGCA’s safety oversight process involves a series of successive follow-up steps which includes communication of observations or findings to the airlines for taking corrective action, review of corrective action taken by the airlines for taking a decision, and initiating enforcement action consisting of warning, suspension, cancellation or imposition of financial penalty to the person or the airline involved."Gen V.K. Singh, Minister of State for Civil Aviation

The review (of the incidents) transpires that poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions (as most of the incidents were related to either component failure or system-related failure) have resulted in degradation of the safety margins. The regulator gave the airline three weeks to respond to the notice.

On July 5, a SpiceJet freighter aircraft, which was heading to Chongqing in China, returned to Kolkata as the pilots realised after the take-off that its weather radar was not working.

SpiceJet planes were involved in at least eight technical malfunction incidents in the 18 days starting June 19

ALSO READ - The turbulence continues for SpiceJet with recent incidents on its Dubai and Mumbai bound flights

On July 5 itself, the airline’s Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi due to a malfunctioning fuel indicator and its Kandla-Mumbai flight did priority landing in Maharashtra’s capital city after cracks developed on its windshield mid-air.

ALSO READ - SpiceJet flight makes emergency landing after smoke detected inside cabin

On July 2, a SpiceJet flight heading to Jabalpur returned to Delhi after the crew members observed smoke in the cabin at an altitude of around 5,000 feet. Fuselage door warnings lit up on two separate SpiceJet planes while taking off on June 24 and June 25, forcing the aircraft to abandon their journeys and return.

Just three days after issuing the notice, the regulator started conducting spot checks on SpiceJet planes

ALSO READ - 2 SpiceJet flights abort take-off following fuselage door warnings

On June 19, an engine on the carrier’s Delhi-bound aircraft carrying 185 passengers caught fire soon after it took off from the Patna airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. The engine malfunctioned because of a bird hit.

In another incident on June 19, a SpiceJet flight for Jabalpur had to return to Delhi due to cabin pressurisation issues.

The DGCA had on July 19 started a 2-month-long special audit of all Indian carriers after its spot checks earlier this month found that insufficient and unqualified engineering personnel are certifying carriers' planes before their departure.

The DGCA had on July 19 started a 2-month-long special audit of all Indian carriers after its spot checks earlier this month

Singh also said that a “financial assessment of SpiceJet carried out in September 2021 had revealed that the airline was operating on ‘cash & carry’ and suppliers/approved vendors are not being paid regularly leading to a shortage of spares and frequent invoking of minimum equipment lists (MELs).”

A MEL is a list of certified equipment issued by the DGCA before flying. A certified aircraft maintenance engineer (AME), however, is allowed to release an aircraft for flying if certain listed equipment is not available.

Planes of other airlines have also been involved in technical malfunction incidents during the last 45 days. The DGCA has carried out a regulatory audit of Vistara, Bluedart, IndiGo, and SpiceJet as per the published Annual Surveillance Programme (ASP) 2022, including a special safety audit of Alliance Air.

Read next

A new technology that could be the next game-changer in mitigating bird strikes - FAA


26 Jul 2022

Wildlife and bird strikes on the ground and in the air are an ever-looming threat to airfield personnel and can occur at any point, from takeoff to landing, resulting in damage to aircraft windshields, engines, and fuselages.

Engine ingestions may result in the sudden loss of power or engine failure while windshield strikes have the potential of causing confusion and disorientation in pilots while exacerbating the loss of communications and aircraft control problems.

Representative | Scarecrow Group

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) reports show a 97.5% of wildlife strikes involve birds. Terrestrial mammals account for 2.1% of strikes, followed by bats and reptiles at 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.

The FAA wildlife strike database reports that approximately 63% of bird strikes happen during the day, 8% at the hours of dawn and dusk, and 29% at night. The landing phases of flight are when 61% of bird strikes occur, and the take-off run and climb phases are when 36% of strikes occur, with the remaining 3% occurring when the aircraft is en route.

Representative | Reader's Digest

Although these strikes can be just as dangerous, the good part is, that wildlife strikes at airports can be prevented.

How do the airports then, accomplish this?

Bangers and Screamers: Airports around the world, and particularly in the US, use pyrotechnics daily to drive the birds away. Bangers and screamers make a loud explosion, others make a whistling sound, while some emit sparks. Different birds respond to different things and some even take flight at the mere sight of the wildlife vehicle.

Representative | Falcon Environmental Services

The flash, bang kind of stuff immediately gets their attention and pushes them awaysays Michael Begier, national co-ordinator of the airport wildlife hazards programme at the US Department of Agriculture

Bird distress signals are yet another effective way of repelling species that cause these problems- according to David Randell- the director of Scarecrow, which provides systems to 20-30 British airports. Speakers mounted on a car emit the sounds of up to 20 different species, operated by a driver using a tablet-style device

Representative | Changi Airport

Eliminating vegetation removes a food source for birds and deters them from settling.  Grasshoppers, gnats and armyworms attract rodents which in turn attract raptors.

The aircraft lights could be used to increase their visibility to birds. The idea is to manipulate the characteristics of the light by varying the pulse rates and wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum and tune these changes to specific bird species. The lights would provide an earlier warning so the birds can detect and avoid the aircraft. Some of these changes to the light might be imperceptible to humans.

The Dutch air force is using a bird detecting radar that could eventually be adopted by civil aircraft

We've known since WWII that radar can see birds, when they were coming across the Channel and they figured it was birds and not German bomberssays Begier

Collisions of landing and departing aircraft and animals on the runway are increasing and are not just limited to rural airports.

Representative | Dreamstime

From 1988 to 2018, wildlife strikes killed more than 280 people and destroyed more than 260 aircraft globally. The annual cost of wildlife strikes is estimated at $150 million to $500 million in the United States and around the world.FAA

Reportedly, promising new research by the FAA, suggests UV lights mounted on helicopters and planes could possibly drive birds away from aircraft and danger.

The technology inverts the customary approach of pilots avoiding or manoeuvring around birds and rather, focuses on alerting the birds better so that they move out of the paths of oncoming airplanes and helicopters.


Birds have tetrachromatic colour sensitivity, which means they can see red, green, blue and ultraviolet colours. Dan Dellmyer, who is an engineer in the FAA’s Software and Systems Branch, experimented with replacing the landing lights found on most general aviation aircraft landing gear with a pulsing ultraviolet LED light that birds can detect.

The FAA tested the UV sensor on an Air Tractor 802 owned by Rodney Shelley - the owner of and pilot for his crop-dusting company Whirlwind Aviation in Fisher, Ark. The testing saw the plane fly for roughly 80 hours over several weeks subjected to various scenarios, such as takeoffs and landings with the UV light on and off, diving, and hard banking.

The Air Tractor 802 used for LED testing | FAA

With the lights on, I could circle the field … the ducks would take off and leave me alone. They wouldn’t stay in the field with me like they normally do. They would turn and go the opposite way immediately. It was pretty interesting.Shelley described

Rodney Shelley and his Air Tractor 802 | FAA

He also noticed that when the UV LED lights were turned off, the birds returned quickly.

According to Dellmyer,  the plane with the UV LED lights on was spotted from as far as 166 yards away, compared to 108 yards away without the lights on- giving the fowl plenty of time to roll out of harm's way. He also believes that the UV LED light “is the better technology now.” and additional benefits include a simple and inexpensive installation process and easy-to-do maintenance.

If the birds see that light, they will move away. I believe it actually does workDellmyer

This potentially game-changing technology is touted to significantly reduce the chances of birds striking general aviation aircraft.



Read next

AAI conducts first flight test landing at Hollongi Greenfield Airport

Radhika Bansal

26 Jul 2022

Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Tuesday, July 19 successfully conducted the first flight test landing at Hollongi Greenfield Airport has set the ground for Arunachal Pradesh’s first full-fledged airport to become operational on August 15, which will be three months before the deadline.

More than 90% of the temporary terminal building has been completed and most of the work required for making the airport operational is planned to be completed by July end.


The maiden landing was of a B-350 (KingAir) special aircraft carrying AAI officials. The flight was led by Capt. Anoop Kachroo and Capt. Shakti Singh and carried flight inspectors Naveen Dudi and Hardeep Singh, DVDR calibration in-charges Ashish Gautam and SS Rohilla for a soft landing.

ALSO READ - Hollongi, a greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh expected to open in August 2022

The flight landed around 9:20 AM at the airport, which is located 15 km from the state capital Itanagar. PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the airport in 2019. The ministry of civil aviation approved the construction of the green field airport at Hollongi in 2014.


“Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way! And a Runway. For ages, Arunachal Pradesh was deprived of air connectivity despite our incredible tourism potential. Hon PM Shri @narendramodi’s Will ensured we have an airport here. An incredibly glorious day today. Congratulations to people,” Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu tweeted.

“Arunachal Pradesh Soaring High! A proud moment for us all as we cross yet another milestone in our efforts to operationalise Hollongi Greenfield Airport with the first flight test landing by AAI. Grateful to Hon PM Shri @narendramodiJi and Hon Minister @JM_Scindia Ji. Kudos team,” Khandu added.


State Civil Aviation Minister Nakap Nalo claimed that the pilots, after the test landing, appreciated the runway and other infrastructure at the airport.

Hollongi is about 15 km from Itanagar. Currently, there is no airport in the vicinity of the state capital, the closest one being Lilabari Airport in Assam's North Lakhimpur district, at a distance of 80 km from here.

Developed by the AAI with an estimated cost of INR 645 crore, the Hollongi airport has eight check-in counters.

The passenger Terminal Building of approx. 4100 Sqm will be designed such as to handle 100 arriving and 100 departing passengers at a time

The passenger Terminal Building of approx. 4100 Sqm will be designed such as to handle 100 arriving and 100 departing passengers at a time with scope for future expansion. The terminal will be an energy-efficient building with a rainwater harvesting system and sustainable landscape.

Once commissioned, the airport will be the first in the mountain state with a runway of 2300 meters eligible for landing and take-off of Boeing 747 aircraft.

As the day for the formal inauguration of the flight of passenger aircraft is approaching nearer, the responsibility of the citizens of the Itanagar capital region, as well as the IMC, has increased manifold to keep the city more clean and beautiful to attract more tourists.

Once commissioned, the airport will be the first in the mountain state with a runway of 2300 meters eligible for landing and take-off of Boeing 747 aircraft.

It is expected that the formal operationalisation of the Hollongi airport will help increase the foreign as well as domestic tourist flow in the state, and the tourists will keep coming if they are attracted by the beauty and cleanliness of the state capital.

At the same time, the tourism department will have to put extra effort to lure the tourists who are going to step into the state capital first as airline passengers. With the state’s new airport, Travellers can reach their destinations in a much shorter time and without the hassle of taking detours.

When it comes to tourism in the state, the new airport is expected to bring in a whole lot of visitors. Though Arunachal Pradesh is already a popular destination, especially among adventure and wildlife enthusiasts, indeed, many tourists think twice before making plans to explore Arunachal due to the lack of air connectivity.

Read next

Shortage of Air Traffic Controllers widens

Jinen Gada

25 Jul 2022

Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) are crucial in achieving high levels of safety for flights and assisting pilots during take-off and landing, monitoring aircraft as they travel through the skies and preventing mid-air and on-ground collisions.

India is well on its way to becoming the world’s third-largest aviation market. Airlines are looking to expand, and the government is aggressively pushing for more airports for better connectivity. But an essential cog in the mammoth Indian aviation machinery is facing issues – Air Traffic Controllers. It seems that the country needs more of them, and fast.

With a rapid increase in the number of airports in India and the skies getting busier every year, the country’s current lot of air traffic controllers can’t keep up with the industry’s growing needs.

According to reports, several ATCOs in India are overworked. 

Faced with an escalating need for air traffic controllers due to the rapid increase in airports in the country and slow recruitment, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has asked the aviation safety regulator to revise rules on their duty hours so that their rest periods can be shortened.

To comply with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's rules on "watch duty limitations and rest requirements", the AAI as the provider of air traffic services needs 40% more personnel for 2022 than its current strength of 3,163 personnel.

In 2023, it will need 5,131 ATCOs or 60% more than the present numbers, and in 2024, it will need 5,428, or 70% more officers, according to a government official.

India's current ATC workforce cannot keep pace with the growing industry.

Officials at the AAI as well as members of the Air Traffic Controllers Guild attribute the widening shortage to three factors — failure to create new posts for the past six or seven years, delay in recruiting new officers during the pandemic as well as several new airports expected to become operational later this year.

"We have asked the DGCA to rationalise its rules. Instead of one set of rules for all airports in the country it must look at volume of air traffic at different airports to fix duty and rest periods. An airport that operates 24x7 hours such as Delhi will have different requirements than those that see flights only between dawn to dusk or have limited day-time operations."Government official

The three training centers for ATCOs in Prayagraj, Hyderabad, and Gondia can only accommodate 264 trainees a year. It also takes around 18 months on average for a new joinee to effectively start working at an airport tower.

With air traffic increasing swiftly and airports mushrooming in all corners of the country, the present ATC resources are spread too thin. 

Read next

Trainer aircraft crash landed near Pune; trainee pilot safe

Radhika Bansal

25 Jul 2022

The trainer aircraft crash-landed, when the student pilot of Carver Aviation, was flying it as a part of the training exercise. Fortunately, the 22-year-old trainee pilot, identified as Bhavika Rathod, suffered minor injuries. The pilot was admitted to Navjeevan Hospital in Shelgaon.

A major accident was averted on Monday, July 25 after a trainee pilot had a narrow escape when her aircraft crashed near Pune in Maharashtra.

The trainee aircraft crashed on a farm in Kadbanwadi village of Indapur taluka in Pune district today at around 11:20-11.30 am. The pilot was rescued by the villagers and given first aid. The trainee aircraft had taken the sortie from Baramati.

Fortunately, the 22-year-old trainee pilot, identified as Bhavika Rathod, suffered minor injuries.

“On 25.07.2022, Carver Aviation Cessna 152 aircraft VT-ALI on solo cross-country flight made a crash landing while 15 nm inbound to Baramati Airfield due to suspected power loss. No injury reported to cadet pilot,” said a statement by Arun Kumar, chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Union civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia said, the incident is unfortunate and he is "praying for the recovery of the injured pilot, Ms Bhavika Rathod." 


Carver Aviation is based in Baramati. The Carver Aviation and police personnel reached the accident spot and started investigating the cause of the accident. DCGA authorities are also present at the spot and an investigation is underway.

The Academy of Carver Aviation Pvt. Ltd was established on August 19, 1995. It is a DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation, Govt. Of India) approved institution. The school is located in the rain shadow region of Baramati in Maharashtra.

In June 2022, a Red Bird flight training organisation (FTO) Tecnam P2008 aircraft had a hard landing on at Baramati runway in Maharashtra.

The trainer aircraft crash-landed, when the female pilot, a student of Carver Aviation, was flying it as a part of the training exercise.

ALSO READ - IGRUA FTO trainee aircraft crash lands in UP, DGCA orders probe

In the same month, a trainee aircraft was forced to land from the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) at Fursatganj in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli. The DGCA had ordered a probe into the incident of a forced landing.

Cessna 152 aircraft VT-EUW crashed near the Birasal airstrip in Odisha in June 2022. The aircraft belonged to the pilot training organisation 'Gati'.

ALSO READ - DGCA reviews 30 flying training organisations; suspends certified flight instructors

Read next

Traffic Movement from Delhi airport's T3 to T1 suspended for 3 weeks

Jinen Gada

25 Jul 2022

Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi announced that due to the ongoing up-gradation work, traffic movement on the carriageway connecting terminal 3 (T3) to terminal (T1) of IGI airport, through the underpass, has been suspended for three weeks starting July 23, 2022.

With this change, it is advised for those who wish to travel from T3 to T1 to take National Highway (NH-48 or the old NH-8) to get to T1 through the Radisson roundabout. The highway that goes from T1 to T3 will continue to be used to move traffic from Delhi Airport’s T1 terminal.

It is worth noting that due to the suspension of traffic movement the travel time from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 will increase to 20-25 minutes from the current 10-15 minutes for the next three weeks.

The road connecting Delhi airport terminal T3 to T1 to remain closed for 3 weeks 

People who have booked connecting flights that require a change of terminal are advised to ensure extra time or, if the connecting flight has less time, they can change the flight altogether to avoid no-shows.

The work on a flyover is underway as part of the Phase 3A expansion project and hence, the traffic movement on one side of the carriageway will be prohibited for three weeks, airport sources said.  

The phase 3A expansion work has been planned to cater to the expected increase in air traffic in the future. As part of the expansion project, the integrated T-1, where work is underway, will have arrival and departure terminals under one roof.

Delhi Airport is the busiest one in India in terms of passenger traffic and cargo.

The upgraded T-1 will double its capacity from 20 million passengers per annum to 40 million passengers per annum. The other development plans under the project include a fourth runway, dual elevated eastern cross taxiways, landside developments for circulation and connectivity improvements and T-3 modification work.  

Among the T-3 modifications are increasing the international transfer area, adding of seventh check-in island and associated baggage handling system. After the upgradation, T-3’s capacity is estimated to go up from 34 million passengers per annum to 45 million passengers per annum.

ALSO READ - Elevated cross taxiway at Delhi Airport, India’s first, to be ready by December 2022