Several aircraft lessors of Go First have approached the Delhi High Court seeking the deregistration of their planes by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The lessors argue that the denial of deregistration by the DGCA is “illegitimate.”
They are unable to deregister and take back the aircraft leased to the crisis-hit airline due to the moratorium on financial obligations and transfer of assets resulting from the airline’s voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju heard the arguments presented by the petitioner lessors and instructed the parties to submit written submissions one day before the next hearing on May 30.
The lessors who have approached the high court include Accipiter Investments Aircraft 2 Limited, EOS Aviation 12 (Ireland) Limited, Pembroke Aircraft Leasing 11 Limited, and SMBC Aviation Capital Limited.
The lessors seek deregistration and repossession of 20 aircraft leased to Go First Airline under the Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorization (IDERA) after the NCLT reserved its verdict. They have already filed applications with the DGCA for deregistration, but their requests have been rejected.
Senior advocates representing the lessors argue that the IRP appointed by the NCLT has no power to take over assets owned by a third party. They emphasize that the issue of deregistration falls under the jurisdiction of the DGCA and can be addressed under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The NCLT had granted the voluntary insolvency resolution plea by Go First on May 10, which was upheld by the NCLAT on May 22. This decision led to a moratorium on the airline’s financial obligations and the recovery of aircraft by lessors.
The moratorium prevents the lessors from recovering their assets currently in possession of the airline. The NCLAT allowed the IRP to continue operating Go First as a going concern, by the NCLT order.
The lessors had requested deregistration and repossession of 45 of Go First’s fleet of 55 aircraft between May 4 and May 9. Go First ceased operations on May 3. They invoked their IDERAs to repossess and fly out the planes, as per the norms that require aviation regulators to deregister the aircraft and allow repossession within five working days of the request.