Aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has ordered no-frills carrier SpiceJet to refund fares of all passengers on a Mumbai-Delhi flight that was delayed by nearly five hours last month.
The first-of-its-kind action by the regulator, seen as a big push for passenger rights, followed complaints by passengers after which an inquiry was conducted by the DGCA.
The regulator has also asked the airline to refund the money it charged from passengers of this delayed flight by selling food and beverages, instead of offering it free in accordance with the laid-down rules.
The DGCA probe found that during the entire delay at Mumbai, SpiceJet sold food and beverages in the aircraft in violation of Section 3 of civil aviation rules (CAR), which detail the facilities airlines should provide to passengers affected by cancellation or delay in flights for more than two hours.
SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with 172 passengers including two infants, suffered engineering problems, which led the pilots to abort take-off and return to the bay, sources said. Another aircraft was arranged after a delay of over four-and-a-half hours.
“SpcieJet, like most airlines, serves food on the ground during the delay in cases like this, and we will be responding shortly to the DGCA. We have received no communication from DGCA regarding “serious engineering issues”,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.