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Global aviation organisation ICAO rejects Spicejet’s audit story

New Delhi: Following SpiceJet’s recent claim regarding the strength of its safety processes after an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN’s civil aviation agency clarified that visits to operators are not considered audits.

In a tweet on December 13, William Raillant-Clark, Communications Officer at ICAO, stated, “ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) team performed an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) to India from 9 to 16 November 2022.” He clarified that the objective of an ICVM is to validate progress in addressing findings from previous USOAP activities.

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

SpiceJet had previously claimed, “SpiceJet was the only scheduled Indian airline part of the audit conducted by ICAO under Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach. The audit of SpiceJet safety systems helped India achieve its highest ever safety ranking in ICAO audit.”

The airline also detailed the audit process, mentioning that the ICAO Auditing Committee visited the SpiceJet Head Office and flight dispatch offices at Delhi Airport, auditing various flight critical functions and operational areas.

SpiceJet’s reaction to ICAO’s clarification on the nature of the visit is awaited.

In other news, following an incident involving smoke in a SpiceJet plane cabin, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) directed the airline on October 17 to send engine oil samples of its entire Q400 fleet to Pratt and Whitney Canada for analysis. The DGCA also ordered an inspection of bleed-off valve screens and housing for evidence of oil wetness after a SpiceJet flight made an emergency landing at Hyderabad airport due to smoke in the cabin on October 12.

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