PTI reports: SpiceJet Penalised for Mid-Air Holi Celebrations
Mid-air Holi celebrations aboard eight flights have cost no-frill carrier SpiceJet heavily, with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issuing show cause notice to the airline, asking why their licence should not be suspended, and suspending two of its pilots.
Sources said that on Monday, the cabin crew of SpiceJet performed a small dance sequence on a song as part of Holi celebrations, with some passengers also joining in.
The videos of these events were taken and uploaded on YouTube and other social media.
In one video, a pilot is seen coming out of the cockpit and taking photographs of the celebrations at the front of the aisle.
Official sources said the act constituted violation of all safety norms as the centre of gravity of the aircraft could have been impacted, mobile phones were used in violation of DGCA to shoot photographs and videos.
SpiceJet on March 17 ran eight special flights with extra cabin crew onboard to do a 2.5-minute jig on the occasion of Holi.
The airline said it was looking into the issue in cooperation with the DGCA.
It defended itself saying that the cockpit was manned all the time.
"The cockpit was manned at all time as per DGCA regulations that govern the situation when one pilot is outside for example to use the lavatory," an airline spokesperson told PTI.
"The dance was professionally choreographed and was Holi delight for passengers much like it is done by several airlines around the world to celebrate a special occasion. The entire dance sequence lasted 2.5 minutes," the spokesperson said.
JetAir sources say that the idea for the dance was inspired by an earlier such dance performance a couple of years back to celebrate India's 63rd Republic Day when flight attendants on a New Delhi-bound Finnair flight from Helsinki treated passengers to a "Bollywood-themed groove-shakin'"
Aviation experts say that the Finnair dance was before the flight take off and did not violate any safety rules unlike the SpiceJet performance.
But there are others who say that similar stunts have been successfully performed earlier, and point for an example to this viral video with more than 10 million hits that shows flight attendants demonstrating the safety drill while breaking into a dance
DGCA says their main objection is to the fact that a Holi dance has the potential to turn unruly and going out of control if passengers join while the flight is mid-air and the pilot happens to be out of the cabin taking photographs.