India's SpiceJet under fire for mid-air song and dance

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian budget airline SpiceJet said Thursday it has run into trouble with the aviation regulator for performing a mid-air song and dance sequence to celebrate the popular Hindu festival of Holi.

Cabin crew on five SpiceJet flights across India performed a two-and-a-half-minute dance routine to a popular Bollywood song to entertain passengers on Monday for Holi, the annual festival of colours which marks the start of spring.

But the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was hardly amused, sending the airline a notice with the carrier reportedly facing a suspension of its licence over the dance, which was filmed by some passengers and uploaded online.

The airline has suspended a co-pilot who was seen in one of the videos outside the cockpit, filming the event himself on his smartphone.

An airline spokeswoman said the plane was never in danger, with at least one pilot and a crew member staying in the cockpit at all times during the dance sequence.

"The DGCA has said that the dance could have created an unruly environment on the aircraft," said the spokeswoman, who did not want to be named.

"Crew are in any case trained to handle unruly passengers," she added.

The airline said around 30 SpiceJet crew members were trained for the dance sequence by a professional choreographer.

Indian media reported Thursday that SpiceJet could have its licence suspended over the show, but the spokeswoman was unable to confirm that.

The DGCA did not respond to repeated AFP requests for comment. The airline said it would reply to the notice by Friday.

Millions of Indian revelers across the country celebrate the festival of Holi by splashing coloured water and powder on each other.

SpiceJet did none of that on board but smeared passengers' foreheads with a pinch of powder, a traditional Indian way of welcoming guests.

Regional budget airlines have been in the news previously for unconventional acts during flights. In the Philippines in 2010, cabin crew on a Cebu Pacific flight performed the safety demo with a dance routine to a Lady Gaga song that become a YouTube sensation.

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