ICAO denies SpiceJet’s false claim of getting audited by the UN body

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has denied SpiceJet‘s claim that the UN body conducted an “exhaustive audit” of the airline and that its “operations, safety processes and systems are in order”.

In a message titled “Clarifications regarding ICAO mission to India” on Tuesday, December 13, ICAO’s spokesperson clarified that it visits various airlines when it conducts an audit of a country’s aviation safety oversight system and that “visits to operators are not audits or inspections at all”.

The ICAO’s audit of the Indian aviation safety oversight system—including areas such as primary aviation legislation, civil aviation organisation, personnel licensing, aircraft operations and air navigation services—was from November 9 to November 16.

SPICEJET
ICAO denies SpiceJet’s false claim of getting audited by the UN body

The ICAO is a specialized agency which is a part of the United Nations that sets standards and regulations for civil aviation.  It audits the aviation safety and aviation security oversight capacities of its member states.

On December 4, the civil aviation ministry said ICAO’s November audit has given “India’s aviation safety highest ever rank” of 48th position. Four years ago, ICAO’s audit had placed India at 102nd position.

SpiceJet, in a statement on December 5, said its “operations, safety processes and systems are in order following an exhaustive audit conducted by the ICAO”.

The ICAO is a specialized agency which is a part of the United Nations that sets standards and regulations for civil aviation.

“The comprehensive audit by ICAO firmly establishes SpiceJet’s credentials as a safe airline. SpiceJet was the only scheduled Indian airline part of the audit conducted by ICAO under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach. The audit of SpiceJet safety systems helped India achieve its highest ever safety ranking in ICAO audit,” said the airline.

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“We are proud that SpiceJet was the only scheduled Indian airline to undergo validation checks by ICAO in this audit. SpiceJet is truly humbled at playing a role in India achieving the highest ever safety ranking and making it to the top 50 nations in terms of ICAO aviation safety audit scores. This audit is a testament to the highest standard of safety followed by SpiceJet.”

Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet had said in a statement

The airline’s claims come just a few months after SpiceJet has undergone a turbulent phase in recent times on account of several glitches and a non-adherence to mandated guidelines regarding the training of some pilots. The airline had seen a series of incidents from April including its pilots being restrained and grounding 50% of the airline’s fleet due to safety issues and missing parts.

ALSO READ – SpiceJet to send 80 Captains on LWP amid financial instability

SpiceJet did not respond to the query on why it claimed on December 5 that ICAO has conducted an “exhaustive audit” of the airline.

ALSO READ – DGCA extends the 50% cap on SpiceJet flight operations; keeps it under enhanced surveillance

SpiceJet’s planes were involved in at least eight incidents of technical malfunction between June 19 and July 5, following which the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked the budget carrier to operate just 50% of its approved flights from July 27 onwards. This restriction on flights was removed by the DGCA on October 30.

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The airline had seen a series of incidents from April including its pilots being restrained and grounding 50% of the airline’s fleet due to safety issues and missing parts.

ICAO’s spokesperson said: “In case it is of use to you, I would like to provide the following information following the appearance of erroneous reports in some media.”

“ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) team performed an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) to India from 9 to 16 November 2022. The objective of an ICVM is to validate progress in addressing the findings from previous USOAP activities,” the spokesperson added.

As part of an ICVM, ICAO teams conduct industry visits to verify the effectiveness of the civil aviation authority’s safety oversight, the spokesperson mentioned. “This will include visits to multiple operators. ICAO wishes to clarify that visits to operators are not audits or inspections at all,” the spokesperson added.

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