SpiceJet passengers departing New Delhi this morning were to wait a bit longer than normal. However, the delay was not caused by a malfunctioning aircraft or a lack of staff. Instead, due to non-payment of airport fees, the airline's planes were denied clearance by Delhi Airport's Air Traffic Control.
SpiceJet's morning departures from New Delhi were disrupted on Friday because the ATC at Indira Gandhi International Airport had been told not to give its planes clearance to take off.
The airline failed to make the required daily payment, according to sources at the Airports Authority of India (AAI). As a result, the airline was forced to take such action. SpiceJet, unlike most other Indian airlines, is required to pay a daily fee to utilise AAI airports.
The delay was caused by a technical fault in the software used by SpiceJet to process payments, according to a SpiceJet spokesperson.
SpiceJet has had an especially bad run in recent months. While the COVID outbreak has taken a toll on many flights, SpiceJet has had its own set of issues. It has recently been embroiled in a number of legal proceedings involving non-payment of dues to aerospace businesses.
The airline was also issued a show-cause notice by India's aviation regulator for inappropriate crew training for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Then, last month, a passenger tweet focused attention on some of the carrier's poorly maintained planes, forcing the DGCA to conduct a thorough investigation into all airlines in the country, particularly those with older planes.