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Aviation regulator sends SpiceJet notice after planes 'overshoot runways'

DGCA audit allegedly reveals that SpiceJet was not imparting corrective training to its pilots.

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai 

SpiceJet aircraft, Mumbai airport
SpiceJet served notice over flight safety and pilot training.

The aviation regulator has issued show-cause notices to senior executives of after a surprise audit revealed deficiencies in safety management.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation's audit on Wednesday was ordered in the wake of three runway excursion incidents at airports.

The audit allegedly revealed that was not imparting corrective training to its pilots who had exceeded defined safety procedures during flights. Implementation of safety management system was lacking and in many cases crew involved in incidents were only given counselling. The audit also said that flight safety department failed to flag off reportable incidents.

The regulator served a show-cause notice to the airline's head of safety, flight operations, training and its accountable manager on why no action should be taken against them.

"We are in receipt of the show cause notices issued by the DGCA. The concerned officials will submit their replies within the timeframe given by the regulator. Safety is the core value of our operations and is a shared objective of both the DGCA and We will take all possible steps that may be required to further strengthen our safety mechanism," said SpiceJet in a statement.

On Sunday, an Air India Express and SpiceJet aircraft overshot runways at Mangaluru and Surat respectively while on Monday night a SpiceJet plane veered off the runway at Mumbai. The DGCA has also suspended the pilots involved in the incident.

The regulator has also initiated an audit of all airlines and airports following these incidents. The audit will emphasise on pilot training, especially operations in adverse weather and schedules to take care of fatigue. In case of airports, runway conditions, runway lights, navigation facilities and drainage are being checked. Friction test was carried out at Mumbai airport's main runway and was found to be satisfactory, the DGCA said.

While the DGCA is indeed cracking the whip on airlines and airports, a safety expert said the regulator was only reacting after incidents. "The audits should have taken place in April or May before the onset of rains," he said.

First Published: Thu, July 04 2019. 22:18 IST