UN aviation body rejects SpiceJet claim, says it didn’t inspect airline


The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has denied SpiceJet’s claim that the UN body conducted an “exhaustive audit” of the and its “operations, safety processes and systems have been found to be in order”.

In a message titled “Clarifications regarding ICAO mission to India” on Tuesday, ICAO’s spokesperson clarified that it visits various airlines when it conducts an audit of a country’s oversight system and that “visits to operators are not audits or inspections at all”.

The ICAO’s audit of the Indian oversight system—including areas such as primary aviation legislation, civil aviation organisation, personnel licensing, aircraft operations and air navigation services—was from November 9 to November 16.

On December 4, the civil aviation ministry said ICAO’s November audit has given “India’s highest ever rank” of 48th position. Four years ago, ICAO’s audit had placed India at 102nd position.

SpiceJet, in a statement on December 5, said its “operations, safety processes and systems have been found to be in order following an exhaustive audit conducted by the ICAO”.

“The comprehensive audit by ICAO firmly establishes SpiceJet’s credentials as a safe was the only scheduled Indian part of the audit conducted by ICAO under Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach. The audit of safety systems helped India achieve its highest ever safety ranking in ICAO audit,” said the airline.

did not respond to Business Standard’s query on why it claimed on December 5 that ICAO has conducted an “exhaustive audit” of the airline.

SpiceJet’s planes were involved in at least eight incidents of technical malfunction between June 19 and July 5, following which the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked the budget carrier to operate just 50 per cent of its approved flights from July 27 onwards. This restriction on flights was removed by the on October 30.

ICAO’s spokesperson said on Tuesday: “In case it is of use to you, I would like to provide the following information following the appearance of erroneous reports in some media.”

“ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) team performed an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) to India from 9 to 16 November, 2022. The objective of an ICVM is to validate progress in addressing the findings from previous USOAP activities,” the spokesperson added.

As part of an ICVM, ICAO teams conduct industry visits to verify the effectiveness of the civil aviation authority’s safety oversight, the spokesperson mentioned. “This will include visits to multiple operators. ICAO wishes to clarify that visits to operators are not audits or inspections at all,” the spokesperson added.


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