After over two months of hiatus, Go First could soon resume flight operations as the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has accepted the cash-strapped airline’s flight resumption plan but with certain riders.
Go First had announced the cancellation of flights on May 2, 2023, and had filed for insolvency in view of the ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine issues on its Airbus A320 NEO aircraft.
The aviation regulator says Go First may resume scheduled flight operations on the availability of “interim funding and approval of flight schedule”.
Further, Go First has been directed to ensure “compliance” with all the applicable regulatory requirements, and continued airworthiness of the aircraft engaged in operations. The DGCA says the carrier must subject “every aircraft to a satisfactory handling flight prior to deployment for flight operations."
The NCLT imposed a moratorium on Go First on May 10, 2023, and appointed Shailendra Ajmera as the interim resolution professional, which was approved by the NCLT on June 15, 2023.
The aviation regulator says the airline has ensured the findings of the special audit have been adequately addressed by Go First. “The resumption plan dated June 28, 2023, amended on July 15, 2023, for operating 15 aircraft/114 daily flights, has been reviewed and accepted,” says the DGCA.
The acceptance is subject to the outcome of the writ petitions or applications pending before the Delhi High Court and the NCLT, Delhi.
The regulator says the resolution professional had presented the resumption plan to the DGCA on June 28, 2023, following which a special audit of Go First facilities was conducted in Mumbai and Delhi from July 4 to 6.
"The audit focussed on the safety-related aspects and continued compliance of the requirements by an operator to hold an air operator made for the resumption of flight operations," says the airline.
The Wadia Group-owned airline has, meanwhile, cancelled all Go First flights until July 23, 2023, due to 'operational reasons'. "The company has filed an application for immediate resolution and revival of operations. We will be able to resume bookings shortly," the debt-laden carrier said on July 20.
Go First has claimed it was forced to file for insolvency at the NCLT after Pratt & Whitney refused to comply with an award issued by an emergency arbitrator. The order directed Pratt & Whitney to release and dispatch without delay at least 10 serviceable spare leased engines to Go First by April 27, 2023, and a further 10 spare leased engines per month until December 2023.
According to data released by DGCA, Go First's domestic market share fell to 6.4% in April 2023 from 6.9% in March 2023. The airline flew 8.29 lakh passengers in April 2023 compared with 8.95 lakh flyers in March 2023. The budget carrier's on-time performance rate was the lowest in April at 41.7%.