DGCA directs Go First to stop ticket sales

The aviation regulator also slapped Go First with a show-cause notice for failing to maintain safe, efficient and reliable operations.

Go First's fleet is grounded while the airline is grappling with multiple challenges (photo courtesy Go First)
Go First's fleet is grounded while the airline is grappling with multiple challenges (photo courtesy Go First)

Aditya Anand

In a significant development, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered Go First to stop the sale of tickets immediately and issued a show-cause notice to the airline for its alleged failure to operate safely, efficiently and reliably.

The aviation regulator has ordered Go First to submit its reply within 15 days of receiving the show-cause notice, after which it will decide whether to continue to honour its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The DGCA order comes after the airline urgently requested the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to pass an order on its insolvency plea.

Go First had earlier announced the suspension of its flight operations till May 12, citing operational reasons. The airline had also suspended bookings till May 15. It had applied for a voluntary insolvency process before the NCLT after half of its fleet was grounded due to engine problems with its Airbus A320neo planes.

Last Tuesday, the airline blamed engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney for its financial situation, citing the "ever-increasing number of failing engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney’s International Aero Engines".

The aviation industry is closely monitoring the status of what is turning into a legal as well as PR duel, as Pratt & Whitney in turn accused Go of repeatedly violating payment schedules.

Pratt & Whitney, which spent $10 billion to develop a new engine, has disputed the claims. The unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. said the Go Airlines matter is sub judice and Pratt & Whitney continue to prioritise delivery schedules for all customers.

In an April 3 communication, the engine maker acknowledged that it is bound to honour the arbitration award, but had informed Go First that no spare leased engines were available. The engines due to be released from repair shops were committed to other customers before the arbitration award was announced, Pratt told Go Airlines, according to the court filing.

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