SpiceJet claims to have no impact on operations after 90 pilots barred from flying B737 MAX

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has clarified that it has 650 pilots who have been trained on MAX aircraft and the DGCA decision to not allow 90 pilots to fly MAX aircraft won’t impact operations. The airline is retraining them as per the DGCA order.

ALSO READ – DGCA fines SpiceJet with INR 10 lakh for using the faulty simulator to train B737 Max pilots

“This restriction does not impact the operations of MAX aircraft and the company has adequate trained pilots available for its operations. Basis the observation of DGCA these 90 pilots shall undergo re-training. DGCA has imposed a penalty of INR 10 lakh basis its audit observations,” SpiceJet said in the BSE filing.

SpiceJet claims to have no impact on operations after 90 pilots barred from flying B737 MAX

The faults were detected during a surveillance check by the DGCA at the Greater Noida-based facility of CAE Simulation Training Pvt Ltd (CSTPL).

The aviation regulator had imposed INR 10 lakh penalty on the airline after it had used faulty simulators to train these pilots. The carrier has enough trained pilots on hand to meet its needs. These 90 pilots will be re-trained based on the findings of the DGCA.

ALSO READ – 90 SpiceJet pilots barred from flying Boeing 737 Max planes by the DGCA

In a statement, DGCA Director General Arun Kumar said: “For the moment, we have barred these pilots from flying Max and they have to retrain successfully for flying Max. “Also, we will take strict action against those found responsible for the lapse.”

SpiceJet has clarified that it has 650 pilots who have been trained on MAX aircraft and the DGCA decision to not allow 90 pilots to fly MAX aircraft won’t impact operations.

The airline, which operates 11 of the 13 MAX currently in its fleet, says the 60 daily flights operated on these planes will not be affected.

“About 144 pilots are required to manage 11 aircraft (MAX). SpiceJet has currently 560 trained pilots on MAX. The trained pilot strength is more than sufficient for continuing normal operations,” the airline spokesman said.

Notably, this happened within eight months of the DGCA lifting a ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. While it was grounded worldwide from March 2019 to December 2020 following two crashes — in Indonesia and Ethiopia — killing 346, DGCA lifted the ban much later in August 2021.

The airline, which operates 11 of the 13 MAX currently in its fleet, says the 60 daily flights operated on these planes will not be affected.

SpiceJet shares fell 1.69% to INR 46.40 after India’s aviation regulator imposed an INR 10 lakh fine on the low-cost air carrier for training pilots on the faulty simulator.

ALSO READ – SpiceJet posts net profit for Q3

On a consolidated basis, it reported a net profit of INR 42.47 crore against a net loss of INR 66.78 crore. Revenue from operations rose 34.8% year on year to INR 2204.68 crore on 31 December 2021.

This is the third instance when DGCA has imposed a financial penalty on operators after the regulator got the power to impose a financial penalty for violation of rules.

On a consolidated basis, it reported a net profit of INR 42.47 crore against a net loss of INR 66.78 crore.

ALSO READ – DGCA fines two flights schools for violating rules

In October 2021, the regulator had levied a fine of INR 75,000 on two flight training schools for irregular maintenance of breath analyser equipment.

ALSO READ – IndiGo penalised INR 5 lakh for refusing to board a specially-abled child

In the second such case, the DGCA imposed a penalty of INR 5 lakh on IndiGo for not allowing a boy with special needs to board a flight from Ranchi.

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