Indian Airline Go First Blames P&W for Bankruptcy
Budget Indian air carrier Go First, formerly known as GoAir, has filed for voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings before India's National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). According to the company, the low-cost carrier has suspended all flight operations for three days from May 3 to May 5, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
The airline's chief executive Kaushik Khona said in a statement that the decision was taken after exhausting all other options to raise funds and resolve the disputes with its engine supplier Pratt & Whitney (P&W), which provides its PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan for Go First's Airbus A320neo aircraft. "We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, employees and stakeholders. We are hopeful that the NCLT will help us find a viable solution to our problems and enable us to resume our services as soon as possible," he said.
According to the company, Go First has been facing operational challenges due to delays in the supply of engines from P&W, which Go First claims have been plagued by technical glitches and reliability issues since their introduction in 2016. The airline says it has grounded more than half of its 61-plane fleet, resulting in reduced market share and revenue losses. According to the Economic Times, Go First has also sued P&W in US Federal Court, seeking to enforce an arbitration award that asks the engine maker to supply the airline with engines and compensate it for damages. Published reports also claim the airline has had aircraft repossessed by creditors and fuel orders limited to cash on delivery terms.
Go First is not the only Indian airline affected by the P&W engine problems. IndiGo, India's largest carrier, also operates a large number of A320neo aircraft with P&W engines and has faced similar issues. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India's aviation regulator, has been in talks with P&W to find a solution.
Go First, which was founded in 2005 by the Wadia Group, had recently rebranded itself and announced its plans to go public. However, the airline's financial situation worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the engine troubles.