Thursday, June 03, 2021

Madurai wedding & Dubai boxer charters: DGCA probe finds lapses by SpiceJet

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) preliminary probes into SpiceJet’s recent twin cases — Madurai wedding charter that saw Covid norms violation onward by guests and a charter flight with Indian boxers to Dubai allegedly without proper clearances — have reportedly found several lapses by the airline.

India’s aviation regulator had probed three back-to-back cases of the budget airline, with the third being a May 11 charter to Croatian capital Zagreb where its four pilots had to spend 21 hours on board before operating the aircraft back to Delhi as they did not have negative RT-PCR test report.

Following the probe, the regulator asked SpiceJet to fix the issues thrown up in the investigation into the two cases.

A Spicejet spokesperson said: "The airline has been asked to take appropriate action and share a report. The same will be done by Spicejet."

Sources said that the DGCA probe "shows the May 22 Delhi-Dubai charter to fly 31 Indian boxers (including Mary Kom) did not have all the required clearances to operate that flight". UAE authorities reportedly did not have permission for this aircraft and allowed it to land only when the pilot declared a fuel emergency and on the intervention of the Indian embassy in Dubai.

On its part, the airline maintained that the “flight and passengers carried proper documentation".

The DGCA probe into the May 23 wedding charter in Madurai that saw onboard Covid norm violations by several of the 130-odd passengers has reportedly found lapses by the airline. The airline failed to prevent this, said sources, and also did not report the same. This became known when videos and pictures of the mid-air wedding celebrations went viral.

02/06/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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