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Go First Ordered Not To Fly Lessors’ Aircraft


  • Delhi High Court denies Go First permission to fly lessors’ aircraft for scheduled maintenance, questioning the urgency and need for these flights.
  • Go First’s relationship with its lessors has deteriorated. They even approached the DGCA to deregister their planes.
  • The carrier plans to restart operations with increased funding of ₹6-7 billion, but will have to modify its flight resumption plan to start with a smaller fleet of 10-15 aircraft.

In a setback to Go First, the Delhi High Court has ordered the airline not to fly lessors’ aircraft as part of scheduled maintenance. Ever since the airline’s grounding in May, there have been questions regarding Go First’s leased aircraft. The airline is yet to win back the confidence of its lessors, who are quite skeptical about the future of their planes with Go First.

Permission denied

The Delhi High Court has ruled that Go First cannot consider scheduled maintenance as the reason to fly its lessors’ aircraft. The court said that the resolution professional (RP) who is managing the airline’s insolvency proceedings has been unable to give compelling reasons to carry out these maintenance flights.

Go First Airbus A320

Photo: Soos Jozsef | Shutterstock

Go First will have to abide by these orders about such non-revenue flights until further decisions can be taken on this. Justice Ganju was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying,

“The respondent no.9/ RP of Go Airlines has also not been able to show any urgency or any grave imminent threat to these aircraft to suddenly and without any prior notice, compel the respondent no.9 RP to fly these aircraft.

“Prima facie, the term – scheduled maintenance cannot be understood to include flying the aircraft even if it is a non-commercial flight. Thus, respondent no.9/ RP of Go Airlines cannot be permitted at this stage, to continue with these handling/maintenance flights.”

The decision came following an application filed by SMBC Aviation Capital Limited, one of the lessors of aircraft, saying that the RP has flown 2 aircraft owned by the petitioners without the court’s permission and disregarding the earlier order.

At loggerheads with lessors

Go First has to deal with a huge pile of problems, and one of the biggest on the list is the deterioration of its relationship with its lessors. While the bankruptcy proceedings have given the airline some breathing space, the lessors aren’t too happy with the limitations placed on them.

Go First Airbus A320neo

Photo: Soos Jozsef | Shutterstock

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation informed the Council of States recently that the Indian aviation regulator, the DGCA, had been approached by Go First lessors to deregister its entire fleet of 54 aircraft.

The insolvency plea by Go First has granted the carrier a moratorium on aircraft, something that its lessors are not happy about. Under Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorisations (IDERA), the DGCA should ideally deregister aircraft within five days for cases such as the default of lease rentals.

Path to flight resumption

Meanwhile, Go First is busy ironing out other issues, such as those related to finances, to ensure that its second stint is smooth. The airline is reportedly planning to restart operations with a funding of around ₹6-7 billion ($72-84 million), more than the initial interim funding of ₹4-5 billion ($48-60 million).

Go First Airbus A320neo

Photo: Skycolors/Shutterstock

It will, however, have to modify its flight resumption plan to get the additional cash. Go First was supposed to restart flights with a fleet of around 26 airplanes. But with more funding, it will start at a smaller scale with about 10-15 aircraft. Hopefully, the coming weeks will bring better news for the carrier.

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Source: PTI via The Telegraph


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