The Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed debt-strapped GoFirst to stop booking and sale of tickets with immediate effect. The aviation watchdog asked the Wadia-owned airline to submit its response within 15 days, on the basis of which the fate of its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) will be decided.

On Monday, the aviation regulator said it had issued a show cause notice to Go First under the relevant provisions of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, for their failure to continue the operation of the service in a safe, efficient, and reliable manner. This comes after the airline temporarily suspended operations until May 12. The DGCA said that it was in view of the sudden cancellation of flights and the initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process under IBC that this notice was ordered.  

Its NCLT application said it has already cancelled 4,118 flights in the last 30 days with 77,500 passengers and will be constrained to cancel further flights.

“The airline operator has been asked to reply within 15 days of the receipt of this notice, and further decisions on the continuation of their Air Operators Certificate (AOC) will be taken on the basis of the reply submitted by them,” the DGCA said in a statement. 

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Further, Go First has been directed to “stop the booking and sale of tickets, directly or indirectly, with immediate effect and until further orders,” it added.

Go First approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Wednesday (May 3) and sought the admission of its insolvency plea. It owes creditors ₹11,463 crore.

Last week, the matter was heard by the Delhi Bench of the NCLT. However, during the hearing, at least three lawyers appearing on behalf of lessors raised objections, stating that the airline had not paid its dues and, hence, they were entitled to take back their aircraft. 

Due to this, the bench reserved the order to mull the issue. On the evening of the hearing, the DGCA posted IDERAs filed for at least 20 aircraft on its website.

On May 8, the lawyers on behalf of the airline requested the bench pass an early order to stop the lessors from deregistering the aircraft, which would lead to its downfall. 

Meanwhile, on Monday, the DGCA posted deregistration requests for 13 aircraft, including three requests which were received on May 5.