Go First plans to resume flight operation, seeks DGCA nod

Apart from securing interim funding of ₹450-Cr, the airline is weighing option to use CFM engines to power its grounded aircraft due to supply issues in Pratt & Whitney engines

Go First flight operation plan

New Delhi: The bankrupt budget airline, Go First, has proposed to resume the commercial flight operation, according to the latest plan the company has submitted to the director general of civil aviation (DGCA).

As per the proposal, the airline is aiming to recommence operation with 160 daily flight operations with 26 aircraft. Of the total, four aircraft are said to be kept in reserve as backup plan to keep the flight operations in case any technical glitches in the aircraft.

Also Read: DGCA to audit Go First’s preparedness to let it resume flight ops

Officials said that the airline was seriously mulling using the CFM engines to power its grounded aircraft. “The airline is open to evaluating the CFM option, and preliminary discussions have taken place on the matter in view of the current scenario,” said one of the airline officials, requesting anonymity.

CFM engines are produced by CFM International, an equal joint venture between France’s Safran Group and General Electric Co of the Unites States. The Go First had a fleet of 54 aircraft, when it suspended operations on 3 May. Of these, five A320neos are run on CFM engines, while US jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney (PW) powers the remaining 49 aircraft.

Also Read: Go First suspends ticket booking till May 22, airfares go up

Officials said that the IndiGo also opted for CFM’s LEAP-1A engines in 2021 to power its fleet of 310 new Airbus 320 family aircraft due to issues with Pratt & Whitney engines. “Go Airlines (India) Ltd will likely induct CFM engine-fitted Airbus A320 family aircraft when the bankrupt airline resumes flight,” said he official.

While Go First placed orders with Pratt & Whitney on account of their fuel-efficient nature and “quieter flights,” the airline’s management chose CFM in 2005, citing “low cost of ownership” and reliability.

Last week, it was reported that the civil aviation regulator would conduct a special audit of the airline next week as part of the process to assess its preparations for the launch. This will focus on the safety-related aspects, continued compliance with the requirements to hold an Air Operator Certificate and physical verification of the arrangements made for the resumption of flight operations.

Also Read: P&W blames Go First for failing to meet its financial obligations

Officials of the Go First said that they had also secured lenders’ in-principle approval for interim funding of ₹450 crore. While the approval for interim funds has been granted, the plan is subject to approval from the respective boards of the banks. Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, and IDBI Bank are part of the lenders’ consortium of Go First.

The bankers have analysed Go First’s preparedness to fly again and feel that since it retained 50-60% of pilots and a majority of ground staff, it will soon be able to resume services. The resolution professional of the airline has made a presentation before the DGCA on June 28 regarding the lenders-approved revival plan. “The regulator had then asked the resolution professional to submit a formal plan on the same,” said the company official.

Also Read: P&W blames Go First for failing to meet its financial obligations

On May 2, the airline had filed for bankruptcy, citing unsustainable financial health owing to engine issues. The company has blamed Pratt & Whitney for the conditions leading to its bankruptcy. As the airline prepares the strategy for sustainable flight operations, in preparation for a relaunch of Go First by July, the Indian civil aviation regulator will also audit the budget airline from 4-6 July.

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