Lessors of Go First parent Go Airlines India Ltd approached the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) seeking 'deregistration' of 22 aircraft operated by the cash-strapped airline.
The Airbus jets, mostly stationed at Delhi, Mumbai Kolkata, and Chennai, include A320neo airplanes that are powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.
Go First's lessors include GY Aviation, Narmada Aviation Leasing, Yamuna Aviation Leasing and SMBC Aviation, among others. All the lessors are based out of Ireland.
The lessors' move to take back possession of aircraft operated by Go First may jeopardise the Wadia group's plans to revive the airline.
On Thursday, Go First cancelled all its scheduled flights till May 9, 2023, citing 'operational reasons'. The airline has also suspended the sale of flight tickets till May 15.
Meanwhile, the aviation regulator ordered Go First to issue refunds to passengers for flight cancellations.
The beleaguered carrier commanded a market share of 7.8% in the January-March quarter and flew 29.11 lakh passengers in the first three months of 2023.
On Tuesday, the airline said it was 'forced' to file insolvency resolution proceedings with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) after engine maker Pratt & Whitney refused to comply with an order issued by an emergency arbitrator.
"With Pratt & Whitney failing to abide by the directions in the emergency arbitrator's award by providing spare leased engines, and with further engine failures expected in the next 3-4 months, the operations of Go First will be made unviable," the low-cost airline said.
If Pratt & Whitney were to comply with the orders in the emergency arbitrator’s award, Go First would be able to return to full operations by August-September 2023, it added.
As of May 1, Go First said it had to ground 25 aircraft, or around 50% of its Airbus A320neo fleet, due to 'failing' engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney's International Aero Engines. "The percentage of grounded aircraft due to Pratt & Whitney's faulty engines has grown from 7% in December 2019 to 31% in December 2020 to 50% in December 2022. This is despite Pratt & Whitney making several on-going assurances over the years, which it has repeatedly failed to meet," the budget carrier said.
The Nusli Wadia-owned airline's debt stood at ₹3,513 crore as of March 2023. Over the past four years, the cumulative losses of the carrier rose to ₹4,543 crore. The airline incurred a loss of ₹1,804 crore on revenues of ₹4,183 crore in 2021-22.
The Wadias had entered the aviation market by incorporating Go Airlines in 2004 and had begun the services under the brand name, Go Air, in 2005. Later in 2021, the company rebranded itself from 'Go Air' to 'Go First'.