Concerned over the deteriorating condition of SpiceJet and large-scale flight cancellations, aviation regulator DGCA on Friday withdrew 186 of its slots and asked it to clear salary dues of all its employees in the next 10 days.
After reviewing the situation facing the no-frill carrier, DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar took a series of decisions, including asking the airline to file a “convincing schedule” by December 15 to clear its over Rs 1,500 crore dues to various vendors including airports and oil companies, official sources said.
The DGCA also directed the airline not to take bookings of flights over one month and refund the booking amount to the customers of cancelled flights in 30 days, they said. As many as 93 arrival and 93 departure slots were withdrawn by DGCA as the low-cost carrier was operating 232 flights in October, instead of 339 in September, the sources said.
The regulator would now on also carry out “heightened” surveillance of all SpiceJet flights on landing to ensure that safety is not compromised due to its financial troubles, they said. The measures came a day after civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said troubled SpiceJet was seeming to “give us heart attacks”.
SpiceJet in a late night statement said that returning of unused slots to the airport operator was a routine process.
“As a natural consequence of the fleet reduction of 15 Boeing planes, unused slots are given back to the airports. This is routine process and a natural outcome of our revised fleet plan, and there is nothing unusual about the slots being cancelled,” the airline said.