Low Cost & Regional

Go First grounded as court rules its leased planes can’t fly

India-based LCC Go First has suffered a setback as the Dehli High Court has ordered it not to fly its aircraft, even for maintenance flights.

The airline, previously known as Go Fly, suspended operations and called in administrators (or ‘resolution professional’) in May of this year. It has a fleet 54 A320 family aircraft. However, the airline’s relationship with various lessors has deteriorated in recent months, leading some of them to call for their aircraft to be de-registered. When operations were suspended, Go First gained bankruptcy protection which gave a moratorium on Go First’s assets and leases.

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The latest action by the High Court was taken after the application filed by SMBC Aviation Capital Limited, one of the lessors.  SMBC had submitted that, against earlier directions of the court, the airline has flown two aircraft owned by the petitioners without court’s permission. The court agreed and ruled that the resolution professionals that are now in charge of the airline had failed to provide any good reasons to carry out these maintenance flights.

“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” presiding Judge, Justice Ganju was quoted in the India Times as saying.

“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.”

Prior to current events, Go First had blamed its poor financial performance on reliability issues stemming from Pratt & Whitney engines. This was something that the engine maker refuted, and the matter has ended up in the courts.





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