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SpiceJet defends stand, cites technical snag for flight delay

Posted on Jul 29 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, July 29 : Defending itself, budget passenger airline SpiceJet Tuesday cited technical snag for flight delay that led to stranding of 172 passengers of Mumbai-Delhi flight SG-419 for around five hours June 16.

It also said that logistical reasons hampered its staff from providing refreshments to the passengers of the delayed flight.

"Budget airlines are unable at short notice to provide food for everyone on board for logistical reasons as our aircraft are not stocked that way, we only carry limited quantities of food on board. We typically serve the refreshments on the ground in the airport terminal during delays," an official with the airline said.

"This was an unusual case as the snag and ensuing delay occurred after passengers had boarded. The aircraft had to be eventually swapped and refreshments were offered to all passengers once the swapped aircraft took off as we had the new aircraft catered accordingly in view of the delay," the official said.

The airline also acknowledged the fact that refreshments to the passengers were served after a period of two hours.

"We acknowledge that this occurred after the two-hour limit specified by the regulations, and we will adjust our processes for handling such situations accordingly and in cooperation with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)."

The airlines' defence came a day after the aviation regulator directed it to immediately refund the passengers of the Mumbai-Delhi flight which was delayed.

The DGCA took cognisance of aborted flight SG-419 which was ferrying 172 passengers between Mumbai and New Delhi on June 16. The flight was delayed by around five hours due to a technical fault.

The flight was finally operated after about four-and-half hours of delay when another plane was brought in.

An investigation by the aviation regulator also found that the low cost carrier (LCC) also sold food and beverages in the aircraft while its was on the ground.

This, DGCA cited, was in violation of Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Section 3. The CAR section says that an airline must provide facilities for drinking water and eatables due to delays or cancellations for more than two hours.

The DGCA directed the airline to refund the money it charged for eatables and drinks while the flight was delayed.

The airline added that there was no alleged 'stripping' of parts from supposedly grounded aircraft.

"All of our aircraft, other than two that are in regularly scheduled c-checks, are fully airworthy, operational, and flying in daily service. We, like other airlines, are subject to regular and ongoing audits by DGCA from time to time and we are fully compliant with every safety regulation," the official added.

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