The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Thursday put on hold its decision in lessors’ pleas in the Go First insolvency case, awaiting the Delhi high court’s order in the aircraft deregistration case.

NCLT said the decision on whether the corporate affairs ministry’s recent notification—exempting aircraft, engines, and airframes from a moratorium under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)—should be applied retrospectively or only moving forward, falls under the jurisdiction of the Delhi high court.

The tribunal adjourned the case until April. 

This verbal observation came during the hearing of pleas of aircraft and engine lessors seeking repossession of their assets from the bankrupt airline.

While many lessors’ pleas are pending before the NCLT, some have approached the high court with a writ petition seeking the deregistration of their aircraft from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), citing the government’s notification.

The high court is expected to conclude the hearing and pass judgment on the deregistration case soon. It is also likely to rule on a contempt case initiated by lessor DAE (SY22) 13 Ireland Designated Activity Company against the resolution professional (RP) of the airline for not following previous court directives regarding maintaining grounded aircraft.

The high court had on 5 July, 2023 allowed the RP to take responsibility for maintaining Go First’s aircraft but allowed lessors the right to inspect—an order later upheld by a division bench of the high court as well as the Supreme Court.

Go First declared bankruptcy in May 2023 due to engine failures from Pratt & Whitney. Since then, legal and administrative hurdles, including disputes with lessors and changes in NCLT’s hearing benches, have kept the airline grounded.

Recently, the NCLT approved a 60-day extension for its moratorium until 4 April, giving the airline additional time to finalize its corporate insolvency resolution process within the total 330 days allowed under IBC.

Subsequently, the airline received two bids for the revival of its operations, with the first bid submitted by SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh jointly with Busy Bee Aviation Private Limited. The second bid has been submitted by Sharjah-based aviation company Sky One, which specializes in a wide array of aviation services.

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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 04:20 PM IST


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