India stalls lessors' requests to reclaim Go First planes due to asset freeze


By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI, May 30 (Reuters) - India's aviation watchdog has put on hold requests from lessors to repossess planes from airline Go First as the carrier's bankruptcy process imposes a freeze on assets which supersedes such requests, it said in a court filing.

Go Airlines (India) Ltd filed for bankruptcy protection blaming its financial troubles on the grounding of about half its 54 Airbus AIR.PA A320neos due to "faulty" Pratt & Whitney engines. Pratt, part of Raytheon Technologies RTX.N, says the claims are without evidence.

In granting bankruptcy protection, the Indian tribunal ordered a freeze on Go First's assets even though some lessors had already terminated leases and placed requests with the aviation regulator to repossess more than 40 planes.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that while the bankruptcy process is ongoing it cannot legally approve repossession requests from lessors, leaving it "no other option" but to keep all application "pending in abeyance".

While the DGCA has not rejected lessors' de-registration requests, they have been placed on hold, it said in the filing seen by Reuters.

Go First's lessors, which include Standard Chartered's Pembroke Aircraft Leasing, SMBC Aviation, CDB Aviation's GY Aviation Leasing, Jackson Square Aviation and BOC Aviation, have initiated separate legal action to reclaim their planes.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi, additional reporting by Arpan Chaturvedi; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)

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