India’s Go First airline cancels flights after bankruptcy

  • by Mariko Oi
  • Business reporter

India’s budget airline Go First has canceled all its flights for the next three days after filing for bankruptcy protection.

It is the country’s first major airline to file for bankruptcy since Jet Airways went bankrupt in 2019.

Go First blamed US engine maker Pratt & Whitney for having to ground many of its planes, which created a severe cash flow problem.

“The company had to take this step because of the ever-increasing number of failed engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney,” Go First said in a statement.

Go First said the problem had forced it to ground 25 aircraft – about half of its Airbus A320neo fleet – causing a loss of revenue and expenses estimated at 108 billion rupees (£1 billion; $1.3 billion).

The airline also accused Pratt & Whitney of failing to follow an order issued by the emergency arbitrator, which included the provision of “not less than 10 serviceable spare leased engines by April 27, 2023”.

In response, Pratt & Whitney said it was “compliant with the March 2023 arbitration award” and could not comment further because “this is a matter for litigation now.”

The collapse of Go First, owned by India’s Wadia Group, highlights the fierce competition in the country’s aviation sector.

In November, the country’s second and third largest airlines – Air India and Vistara – announced that they were planning to merge.

It has not yet been able to resume operations due to facing a lengthy bankruptcy process.

Additional reporting by Archana Shukla

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