It is not uncommon for passengers to face delays and cancelled flights at the Delhi airport. But on Saturday, it was the turn of Director General of Civil Aviation to face the brunt.
S.N.A. Zaidi, who heads the country’s civil aviation regulatory body, had to cancel his trip to Bangalore on Saturday morning after a fire-alarm went off in a SpiceJet airlines aircraft. The aircraft was declared unserviceable for the flight due to the technical glitch.
Airport sources said that during the pre-flight check of the aircraft, a fire alarm went off. All the 150 passengers, including the DGCA chief, had boarded the Boeing 737-800 of SpiceJet's Delhi-Bangalore flight (SG-501) by that time.
While the aircraft was checked at night and declared fit to fly, the alarm buzzed when the pilot was conducting pre-flights check before the scheduled departure at 6.40 am.
“The aircraft (VT-SPH) was completely serviceable on Saturday morning and did not have any reported snags. During the fire system check done by the pilot as a part of the pre-flight routine, the cargo fire module failed the test,” said an airline spokesperson.
Zaidi, who was to attend a conference of the Aeronautical Society of India in Bangalore, cancelled his trip as the airline took some time to arrange a separate aircraft.
“The flight was delayed due to a technical snag and there was no way I could have made it to Bangalore in time for the function,” Zaidi said.
The spokesperson said that all fire systems in the aircraft are checked in the night and again by each pilot prior to departure. The airline also rubbished claims that there was a fire on board. “The defective unit in the aircraft (VT-SPH) was replaced subsequently and the aircraft is now serviceable and flying on other sectors.”