Delhi HC grants lessors access to Go First aircraft

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Delhi HC grants lessors access to Go First aircraft

In a first relief for lower-cost carrier LCC Go First, a Delhi High Court bench has granted them access to their aircraft.

The single-judge bench of Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju on Wednesday ordered the civil aviation regulatory authority, the DGCA and the concerned airport authorities to permit the lessors to inspect the 30 leased aircraft with the Mumbai-based LCC within the next three days.

The lessors shall be given access to their aircraft at least twice a month by the DGCA and the concerned airport authorities to carry out interim maintenance until the final disposal of the writ petition, the bench said.

The bench barred Go First and the Insolvency Resolution Professional IRP from removing, replacing or taking out any part or manuals of the aircraft, except with the prior written approval of the concerned lessor.

The court further said that the parties can move their application over any additional prayers or concerns.

After facing closed doors at other forums, the lessors have gotten the much-needed respite from the directions issued by the Delhi High Court. Later, GoFirst or its IRP are now prohibited from removing any parts, spares or records from these leased aircraft, thus reducing the risk of cannibalization, said Salil Arora, founding partner at the law firm AviLeague Partners. The next hearing will be held on August 3.

The apex arbitration panel National Company Law Appellate Tribunal NCLAT has upheld National Company Law Tribunal's moratorium allowing the repossession of aircraft by Go First lessors, and the clamour for India to align its laws with the international conventions and treaties on aircraft has grown.

Lessors have been especially concerned about critical parts such as engines and landing gear from their aircraft on the ground getting cannibalised to operate flights by aircraft that are still airworthy.

Go First sent the global aerospace industry into a tizzy when it filed for a voluntary bankruptcy resolution with NCLT May 2, alleging that technical glitches with next-generation engines supplied by Pratt Whitney P&W had hit normal operations, leading to mounting losses.

From then onwards, the airline announced the suspension of all flight operations.

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