Regulator Asks Go First To Immediately Stop Ticket Sales, To Decide On Licence

Go First has been asked to submit their reply within 15 days. (file)

New Delhi:

Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday issued a show cause notice to troubled budget carrier Go First “for their failure to continue the operation of the service in a safe, efficient and reliable manner”, and directed it to immediately stop bookings and sale of tickets directly or indirectly till further orders.

The airline operator has been asked to submit their reply within 15 days of the receipt of this notice, based on which a decision on the continuation of their Air Operators Certificate (AOC) will be taken.

Earlier, the airline had suspended the sale of tickets till May 15 and has cancelled flights till May 12.

The Wadia Group-owned airline, formerly known as GoAir, has filed a plea for voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which reserved its order.

The appeal is aimed at restructuring the airline’s debt and liabilities, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first major airline collapse since 2019 underlines the fierce competition in a sector dominated by IndiGo and the recent merger of Air India and Vistara under the Tata conglomerate.

The airline said in a tweet that it would issue a full refund to the original mode of payment for the cancelled flights.

The airline said it had to stop flights “due to the ever-increasing number of failing engines supplied by P&W International Aero Engines, which has resulted in Go First having to ground 25 aircraft (50 per cent of its Airbus A320neo fleet).”

The airline in the statement said a Singapore arbitrator ordered P&W to supply at least 10 serviceable spare leased engines by April 27, 2023 and 10 more engines – one each per month – by December this year. But P&W has not followed the order, the airline alleged.

“… That order (of the arbitrator) directed P&W to take all reasonable steps to release and dispatch (the engines) without delay to Go First…” the airline said. “If P&W 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,” the airline said.

Go First said the American aviation firm told them there are no further spare leased engines available for P&W to comply with the emergency arbitrator’s award.

Responding to the claim, the US firm said, “Pratt & Whitney is committed to the success of our airline customers, and we continue to prioritize delivery schedules for all customers. P&W is complying with the March 2023 arbitration ruling related to Go First. As this is now a matter of litigation, we will not comment further. “

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