Four SpiceJet pilots spend a complete day inside aircraft in Croatia after being held without Covid negative report.
Four SpiceJet pilots had to be confined almost a day onboard the aircraft they operated the flight. It was from Delhi to Croatian capital Zagreb this Tuesday before flying the Boeing 737 back home.
The very unexpected cause of the same no Covid-19 negative report. SpiceJet did not make them undergo the mandatory pre-flight RT-PCR test.
They landed in Croatia without the negative report. And, because of this they were not allowed to get off the aircraft there.
The two commanders along with the first officers had to spend their layover inside the aircraft. They were in Croatia capital- Zagreb before flying the plane back to Delhi without any passengers or cargo. SpiceJet says the crew was on board for 21 hours.
DGCA admonishes Spicejet
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has “admonished” the airline for this lapse.
The compelled rest between operating two flights for crew in this case was not in a suitable environment as mandated by rules.SpiceJet then sought DGCA clearance to operate this aircraft in special conditions for mitigating this issue.
From Spicejet Pilots and airlines
“Prior to departure from India, e-mail confirmation was received from Croatian authorities that RT-PCR is not required for crew. On arrival in Zagreb, crew was told that orders have changed." A Spicejet official mentioned.
We’re all aware about sudden and massive increase in Covid cases in India. Because of this, they have now been instructed that RT-PCR is required. This happened a surprise for Spicejet.
“Since crew could not fly back immediately due to flight duty time limitation restrictions, bedding, food and water was provided in the aircraft and the plane was cleaned. DGCA permission was obtained." They mentioned further.
SpiceJet Pilots and crew
SpiceJet had operated flight SG-9035 on May 11 on Delhi-Tbilisi-Zagreb with two sets of pilots, meaning four pilots. As the crew did not make them undergone the mandatory RT-PCR test. The Croatian authorities did not allow them to alight from the aircraft.
Crew completed a day in aircraft for 21 hours (as mandated by regulation). They then finally flew back to Delhi. All the crew members confirmed that they were comfortable and happy with the arrangements.
Both the sets of pilots (a captain and a co-pilot making one set) operated the aircraft from Zagreb to Delhi.
The regulator asked the airline to operate the aircraft from Zagreb without any passengers or crew.
Such kind of mishaps are not encouraged in future.
Covid wave- descent of India
The unfolding Covid catastrophe in India has seen some countries suddenly change their rules for crew and passengers from the country.
At times, these changes have occurred when aircraft are on their way from India to those countries. In this case, SpiceJet claims Croatia first said there was no need for RT-PCR test and then changed the requirement by the time its plane landed there.
India is the world’s worst Covid hotspot at the moment. We have been experiencing devastating outcomes of the contagious disease.
“Since the outbreak last year, people abroad are wary of those from hotspot countries — whether crew or passengers. Last year we used to be apprehensive of people from China and Europe. Today India is witnessing a catastrophic outbreak of Covid and we get the same vibes now abroad,” a senior Pilot expressed his pain.