Go First lessors have been permitted to inspect and carry out maintenance work of their 30 aircraft and their parts in regular intervals. A single judge of the Delhi High Court granted an interim relief to the lessors.
The court has directed the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the airports where the aircraft are parked to allow the lessors access to their planes within the next three days. The interim order issued by Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju also prohibits Go First’s resolution professionals and employees from removing or replacing any part or component of the leased aircraft without explicit permission from the lessors.
The court’s order recognises that aircraft are complex and expensive machinery that require regular maintenance. A final hearing on the matter is scheduled for August. Earlier, on June 1, the Delhi High Court had reserved judgment on a batch of petitions filed by lessors of Go First, who were seeking the deregistration of their aircraft.
Several aircraft lessors, including Pembroke Aviation, Accipiter Investments Aircraft 2 Ltd, EOS Aviation, and SMBC Aviation, had filed a writ with the Delhi High Court, seeking directions to release the planes leased to the financially distressed Go First.
According to legal sources, the bench has allowed the lessors, along with their employees, agents, officers, and representatives, to access the respective airports where the aircraft are parked in order to inspect them within three days of the court order. Go First has been instructed not to remove or replace any parts or components of the aircraft, except for mandatory maintenance, without prior permission from the respective lessor.
Law firm Wadia Ghandy & Co. represented Aircraft Lessors namely SMBC Aviation Capital, SFV Aircraft Holdings and GY Aviation. Rajiv Nayar and Amit Sibal, Senior Advocates briefed by Marylou Bilawala, Chiranjivi Sharma among others.
Furthermore, the RP has been directed to conduct necessary maintenance, including mandatory engine runs at least twice a month. The respondents have been given three weeks to file a counter affidavit, after which the petitioners may file a rejoinder within one week. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for August 3.
The DGCA, a respondent in the case, argued that they had not rejected any lessor’s application for repossession due to a moratorium. The DGCA clarified that they neither support the lessors nor Go First in the dispute but are bound to follow the court’s orders.
The lawyers representing the lessors emphasised that the relationship between an airline and an aircraft lessor is contractual, and modifying the terms of the contract would have consequences for the Indian aviation sector. They further argued that the established principles governing the lessor-airline relationship should not be modified without legal sanction.