India's SpiceJet says airplane aborted Mumbai takeoff due to caution alert

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FILE PHOTO: Man looks out through a window with an advertisement of SpiceJet Airline, on a commercial building in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad

By Aditya Kalra and Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A SpiceJet airplane was forced to abort its takeoff on a Mumbai runway on Thursday because of a caution alert, but there was no safety problem, the Indian airline told Reuters.

A SpiceJet Q400 aircraft scheduled to fly from India's financial hub Mumbai to Kandla in the western state of Gujarat aborted take off "owing to illumination of a caution alert," the airline said in a statement.

The incident comes a day after India's aviation regulator ordered SpiceJet to slash its approved fleet by half this summer for eight weeks citing safety snags and said it would put the domestic airline under "enhanced surveillance".

"The aircraft stopped well within the runway length available. Crew acted as per the SOP. There was no safety scare," the airline's statement said.

A senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation told Reuters it was "looking into the aborted flight incident", calling it routine. The official declined to be named due to sensitivity of the matter.

The plane was "almost at full speed" on the runway when it was suddenly stopped and the pilot aborted the takeoff, announcing later it was a technical problem, Vishal Vikram, one of the passengers on board, told Reuters.

The incident caused panic among some passengers, who "were in shock," he said.

Earlier this month, the aviation regulator issued a warning to SpiceJet after a review of incidents, which included a side windshield outer pane that cracked mid-flight and a malfunctioning indicator light.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Aditi Shah in New Delhi; editing by David Evans and Tomasz Janowski)

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