New Delhi: SpiceJet’s occupancy rate has remained high in July despite multiple technical malfunction incidents reported in its aircraft during the last 24 days.The airline’s occupancy rate, also called passenger load factor (PLF), was above 80 per cent between July 1 and July 11, SpiceJet said in statement.
“I am grateful for the faith and trust that our passengers have shown,” Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, said.
The numbers speak for themselves and are a testimony to the fact that SpiceJet is and has been the most loved airline in India, he added.
The PLFs of other airlines have been around 70-80 per cent between July 1 and July 11, aviation industry sources said. SpiceJet’s statement said: “The airline’s load factor for the last eleven days continues to be extremely impressive with a PLF of 83.1 per cent on July 1, 88.2 per cent on July 2, 90.1 per cent on July 3, 86.5 per cent on July 4, 86.2 per cent on July 5, 85.8 per cent on July 6, 84.1 per cent on July 7, 84.2 per cent on July 8, 86.6 per cent on July 9, 85.1 per cent on July 10 and 81.3 per cent on July 11.” SpiceJet planes have been involved in at least nine technical malfunction incidents during the last 24 days.
Aviation regulator DGCA had on July 6 issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet, saying the budget carrier has “failed” to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services.
In an interview to PTI on July 6, Ajay Singh had said a lot of these incidents that are being reported are relatively minor in nature and happen to every airline. “This is nothing unique,” he had added.
Asked what changes SpiceJet will now undertake to deal with the safety concerns, Singh said, “We have to be doubly careful. We will rigorously inspect aircraft when they leave for a flight, which we already do, but we will strengthen the inspection.” SpiceJet’s Dubai-Madurai flight was delayed on July 11 after the Boeing B737 Max aircraft’s nose wheel malfunctioned.
On July 5, the airline’s Delhi-Dubai flight was diverted to Karachi due to a malfunctioning fuel indicator and its Kandla-Mumbai flight had to make a priority landing in the western metropolis after cracks developed on its windshield at a height of 23,000 feet.
A SpiceJet freighter aircraft, which was heading to Chongqing in China, returned to Kolkata on July 5 as the pilots realised after take-off that its weather radar was not working.
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 journey and return.
On June 19, an engine on the carrier’s Delhi-bound aircraft with 185 passengers onboard 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 the same day, a SpiceJet flight for Jabalpur had to return to Delhi due to cabin pressurisation issues.