Lessors of 20 aircraft to the bankrupt airline Go First have asked the aviation regulator DGCA to deregister them, paving the way for their return.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has published the details of the lessors and their request on its website.
By law, the DGCA has to start deregistering an aircraft in five working days once a lessor sends a request to do so and publish the details on its website, according to experts familiar with the process. It is not known whether Go First plans a legal challenge on this.
This development marks a turn for the worse for the Wadia Group-owned airline that filed for insolvency with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
The airline in a statement on Tuesday while announcing the grounding of all flights had said it intends to return to the air soon once their problems are solved, specifically the matter of leased spare engines from US firm Pratt & Whitney.
Go First has alleged the US firm did not keep its word on supplying the engines, which forced the airline to ground 50 per cent of its Airbus A320neo fleet and subsequently, all operations.
But the lessors asking Go First to return the 20 aircraft is likely to deepen the crisis and push Go First into a bankruptcy trench from where climbing out would be extremely challenging or even impossible.
At the NCLT, the lessors today opposed Go First’s request for voluntary insolvency and a moratorium on its financial obligations.
The NCLT heard the matter for nearly four hours, after which it adjourned the proceedings.
Go First’s lawyers said the request for voluntary insolvency and a moratorium was not meant to avoid paying dues to creditors but to save the company, news agency PTI reported.
The lawyers confirmed that the airline’s bank guarantees are being encashed and it has got notices to end aircraft leases.
The airline has liabilities worth Rs 11,463 crore and has cancelled all its flights till May 9 and stopped ticket sale till May 15.