The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked SpiceJet Ltd to start passenger flights to India’s northern-most airfield in Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, a move the budget airline resisted on the grounds that it’s unsafe.

Typically, it’s up to the airline to choose where it wants to fly as long as the routing conforms to the regulator’s rules…probably for the first time, the DGCA deputy director of air safety wrote to SpiceJet CEO Neil Raymond Mills.

The government official said DGCA considers that only Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes can meet the criteria for landing at the airfield. SpiceJet is the only Indian carrier with Q400 planes. But the conditions at Kargil, set in the Himalayas, are such that lives will be put at risk, safety experts said.