The senior airline executives, assembled at the Ministry of Civil Aviation for a meeting with bureaucrats, were aghast. Here was SpiceJet being thanked despite showing a blatant disregard for orders issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the regulator.
It was mid-March 2019. The aviation world was still reeling from the shock of twin air tragedies involving Boeing 737 Max aircraft. In fact, the second one, involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed killing 157 people, had happened just a few days before, on 10 March. Like aviation regulators around the world, the DGCA too grounded the aircraft in India. But SpiceJet, which was one of two airlines—the other being Jet Airways—to operate the aircraft in India, continued to fly the planes. In doing so, it put the safety of its passengers and crew at risk.
“The official explanation was that these flights were operated to get the aircraft back to their maintenance facilities. But