Go First may be staring at deregistration of at least six aircraft owned by BOC Aviation and Celestial Aviation over unpaid dues. If the aircraft are deregistered, it will be left with only 30 aircraft in operation ahead of the peak summer season.
According to our sources, six aircraft with number VT-WJO, VT-WJN, VT-WJW, VT-WJX, VT-WJY and VT-WJZ are amongst those which are likely to be deregistered.
"Conversations with the lessors do not seem to be going as planned. Despite giving them multiple extensions, the airline hasn't been able to pay back the dues. Go First asked for another extension but the lessors aren't likely to reconsider."
businessline had reported that the Wadia-owned airline owes close to $100 million of lease rentals to the lessors.
We do not comment on speculation," a Go First spokesperson said. Whereas BOC Aviation said it does not comment on individual aircraft or lessees. Celetrial Aviation could not be contacted immediately.
This comes amid GoFirst's scuffle with Pratt and Whitney, and potential lawsuit at least three lessors have asked the airline to remit the lease rentals that have been deferred due to Covid-19 pandemic. Industry experts believe that this could be a huge hit for the airline ahead of the peak season.
A source said that it owes close to $60-70 million towards one of the lessors whereas it owes another $20-30 million cumulatively towards other lessors. businessline wasn’t independently able to confirm the said amount.
In response to this paper’s query, the airline’s spokesperson said that it does not discuss commercials and accounting of individual parties, and would not be able to share commercial information which was private to the Wadia Group-owned airline. Albeit, Go First is in discussion with every lessor.
Tiding over challenges
“It may not be out of place to mention that the promoters have infused almost ₹3000 crore by way of equity/ funds/ non fund based limits for the company in the last 18 months to tide over the challenges of Covid, war and other challenges. Go First has paid lease rent to the lessors in the past months, including for non-revenue earning grounded aircraft.”
According to the company, it has 61 aircraft in its fleet. Data on planespotter.net showed that almost 50 per cent of its fleet of 29 aircraft is grounded. Most of these aircraft are grounded due to alleged delays of engine deliveries from Pratt and Whitney.
The person said this is a catch 22 situation for the airline. On the one hand, half of its fleet is grounded. On the other hand, within the next few weeks, the industry will be entering the peak season. When the airline will not be able to fly half of its fleet, it will impact its cash flow which makes it further difficult for them to generate revenues. Once the first quarter of the coming fiscal ends, the industry typically enters a lean period making it all the more difficult for the airline.