Friday, June 21, 2024

Go First Airlines Prepares to Resume Operations, Plans 152 Daily Flights

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Go First Airlines, currently under insolvency resolution, has informed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that it is ready to operate 152 daily flights once it resumes operations. The airline, which has been non-operational since May 3, aims to utilize its current fleet of 26 planes, with approximately 675 pilots and 1,300 cabin crew members, according to a recent resumption plan submitted to the DGCA.

The airline, managed by insolvency resolution professional Abhilash Lal, previously operated 200 daily flights until April. It has requested ₹200 crore in funding to restart its flight operations and has access to ₹400 crore through the government’s emergency credit line guarantee scheme (ECLGS) and undrawn credit.

Discussions are currently underway with lenders to secure interim funding of ₹200 crore to cover salaries and vendor payments. Go First Airlines requires ₹12 crore daily to sustain operations and has received ₹250 crore in funding from the Wadia Group, its promoter, in April.

The airline faces a total debt of approximately ₹11,400 crore, with ₹6,520 crore owed to financial creditors. The DGCA has requested guarantees regarding the availability of pilots and cabin crew, to which the airline responded that it still has a pool of 340 pilots, 680 cabin crew members, and 530 engineers, sufficient for operating its fleet of 22 aircraft.

Scheduled flight operations of Go First Airlines have been cancelled until June 7, and full refunds will be provided to passengers. The government has urged airlines to maintain reasonable airfare prices due to a significant increase in ticket prices, particularly on routes previously served by Go First.

The consortium of lenders, led by the Central Bank of India, is cautious about releasing funds to Go First, pending DGCA permission to resume operations and the airline’s submission of a well-defined and solid business plan.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has directed the IRP of Go First to file a reply within one week in response to petitions filed by three lessors seeking possession of their aircraft and engines. The matter will be heard on June 15.

With the airline’s fleet grounded due to engine problems when services were suspended, Go First Airlines aims to navigate the insolvency resolution process and revive its operations to meet the demands of travelers in the future.

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