Go First files for insolvency, cancels flights from May 3-5

Cash-strapped Go First on Tuesday sought voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings and decided to cancel flights for three days starting from May 3, as the budget airline is unable to meet financial obligations amid the grounding of half of its fleet due to the non-availability of Pratt & Whitney engines. Go First, which has been flying for more than 17 years, will cancel all flights for three days – May 3, 4 and 5 – and promised to make a full refund to the customers. It operates around 180-185 flights, carrying around 30,000 passengers on a daily basis. Its CEO Kaushik Khona said the airline has grounded 28 planes, more than half of its fleet, due to the non-supply of engines by Pratt & Whitney (P&W), and that has resulted in a fund crunch. “It is an unfortunate decision (filing for voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings), but it had to be done to protect the interests of the company,” he said. The Wadia group-owned carrier has moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Delhi, seeking voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings. Go First is the second major scheduled airline after Jet Airways to seek resolution under insolvency proceedings. Meanwhile, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the airline cancelled the scheduled flights for May 3 and 4 “without any prior intimation”, and issued a show-cause notice. While the carrier announced that it would cancel the flights for May 3 and 4, it was extended by another day to May 5, as per a notice on the carrier’s website. Khona said the airline’s current liabilities would be around Rs 9,000 crore. The carrier has around 7,000 direct employees.