SpiceJet’s three Dublin-based lessors — Wilmington Trust, Falgu Aviation Leasing Limited and Sabarmati Aviation Leasing Limited — have moved a deregistration request with the Directorate Genewral of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for three Boeing 737-800s.

On Tuesday, the DGCA uploaded Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorisation, submitted by Wilmington Trust, Falgu Aviation Leasing Limited and Sabarmati Aviation Leasing Limited for Boeing 737-800s, with registration numbers VT-MXJ, VT-SZJ and VT-MXF.

“Two of the three planes are grounded for a long period now and the same doesn’t affect our operations. We hold a very good relationship with the lessor and are in discussion to resolve the matter. We have been working to bring back our grounded fleet basis the loan sanctioned under the ECLGS scheme,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

The third aircraft is operational, which is likely to cause disruption in the airline’s operations.

The airline has been facing acute cash crunch for the past few fiscals. 

This comes at a time when another aircraft lessor, Aircastle, has dragged SpiceJet to the  National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), seeking initiation of insolvency resolution proceedings against the airline over unpaid dues of ₹40 crore for four B737-800 aircraft. This has resulted in a notice from the NCLT. The next hearing is scheduled for May 17, allowing SpiceJet a little over a week to respond.

SpiceJet is also facing a plea filed by Credit Suisse in the Supreme Court alleging contempt of court. The issue dates back to August 2022, when SpiceJet and Credit Suisse agreed to settle a payment dispute of $24 million. However, in April 2023, Credit Suisse moved the Supreme Court, alleging that SpiceJet had failed to pay $4.9 million according to the terms of the settlement.

On the other hand, Carlyle Aviation has converted $100 million of outstanding dues into equity and acquired compulsorily convertible debentures in SpiceXpress, the airline’s cargo arm. This conversion has given Carlyle Aviation a 7.5 per cent stake in SpiceJet.

These legal troubles come at a time when the aviation industry is still recovering from the pandemic and are likely to put a strain on SpiceJet’s operations and financials. Another low-cost-carrier, Wadia-owned GoFirst, is at the brink of insolvency. Lessors have sought deregistration of approximately 39 out of 54 aircraft.