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DGCA warns IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir for safety violations on small runways

14 June 2014

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has warned Indian carriers IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir for flouting its payload restriction norms while flying to Jammu and Patna, where the airports have short runways, and said their operations would be stopped if they continue to carry a full load of passengers to and from these destinations.

The DGCA issued the notices after finding these 'no-frills' airlines violating safety norms by carrying full flights to these two airports where they should fly with 20 per cent reduced load.

The regulator, whose officials carried out real-time checks on the flights of these airlines to the two cities, asked the three airlines to report back by tomorrow evening that they would not fly a fully-occupied aircraft, according to a Free Press Journal report.

The DGCA, after examining the flight manifests of these airlines for 15 days, found they were carrying 170-180 passengers, instead of 150-155 as mandated in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for airports with small runways.

When contacted, the spokespersons for the three airlines refused to comment on the matter.

There are strict norms restricting payload for smaller runways to ensure safe and smooth landings. Payload means the total weight of passengers and cargo that an aircraft can carry.

Elaborating on the notice, the officials said if the flights to these two destinations are fully booked, the airlines would have to cancel the bookings and curtail the number of passengers to around 150.

While IndiGo and GoAir operates Airbus A-320s, which can carry 180 passengers in a full-economy configuration, SpiceJet flies Boeing 737-800s which have a capacity of 189. 

The Patna Airport's runway length is 6,411 feet, Jammu's 6,755 feet, while the shortest runway in Delhi is 9,229 feet where the two types of aircraft can land with full load of passengers.

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