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Go First Insolvency: NCLT Directs RP To File Details On Recent Developments

A two-member bench of NCLT, comprising Mahendra Khandelwal and Rahul P Bhatnagar, directed the resolution professional (RP) to file an additional affidavit in the next 10 days, including the status of the maintenance of the leased aircraft

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Friday directed the resolution professional of cash-strapped grounded airlines Go First to submit details of the subsequent developments.

A two-member bench of NCLT, comprising Mahendra Khandelwal and Rahul P Bhatnagar, directed the resolution professional (RP) to file an additional affidavit in the next 10 days, including the status of the maintenance of the leased aircraft. 

Moreover, the insolvency tribunal has also asked the RP to file the reply over the pleas filed by three new Go First lessors in two weeks and a rejoinder, if any, by them next week. It has directed to list the matter on September 1 for the next hearing.

The three new lessors are - DAE (SY 22) 13 Ireland, EOS Aviation 12 Ireland and Accipiter Investments Aircraft 2 Ltd. Pleadings on the petitions filed by six other lessors have been completed. 

During the proceeding, Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, representing the RP, informed the tribunal that Go First has approached the Supreme Court against the orders of the Delhi High Court.

Earlier a single-member bench of the Delhi High Court had permitted the lessors of Go First to access and inspect the planes they had leased to the airline. This was also upheld by the division bench of the high court, following which Go First moved to the apex court.

Srinivasan told the NCLT that Go First has moved the Supreme Court to seek clarity over the orders passed by the high court and NCLT over the status of around 30 aeroplane and their engines.

Earlier on July 26, the NCLT rejected pleas of the lessors of Go First to restrain the airline from commercial flying, saying aircraft are available for flight resumption since aviation regulator DGCA has not deregistered the carrier. 

NCLT held that physical possession of the aircraft/engines would be "indisputably" with Go First and lessors cannot claim possession during the CIRP of the carrier.

The tribunal had also declined the lessors' pleas for inspection of their leased aeroplanes and engines and strongly reiterated that it was the responsibility of the resolution professional to maintain them at the highest levels of efficiency/safety.

"The physical possession of the aircraft/engines is indisputable with the corporate debtor (Go First). Therefore, in terms of Section 14(1)(d), the applicants would not be within their rights to claim possession of these aircraft/engines," the NCLT bench said in its 29-page order passed on the petitions filed by several lessors of Go First.

"The moratorium prohibits the recovery of the aircraft/engines by the lessors (applicants) from the corporate debtor," it added.

Go First stopped flying on May 3, 2023, and approached voluntarily for initiation of CIRP against it, as it was unable to fly due to technical difficulties faced by the non-availability of engines from Pratt & Whitney.

On May 10, the NCLT admitted the plea of Go First to initiate voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings.  

Earlier this week, Go First's RP had sought NCLT approval to refund Rs 597.54 crore to around 15.5 lakh passengers who booked tickets for travel on and after May 3.

On this, the NCLT had issued notice to the lenders and insolvency regulator IBBI.

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