The regulator on Friday allowed the resolution professional (RP) of the airline to “resume scheduled flight operations upon availability of interim funding and approval of the flight schedule”. In addition, the Go First RP has been directed to “ensure compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements, ensure the continued airworthiness of operational aircraft, and subject each aircraft to satisfactory flight prior to deployment for flight operations.”
“DGCA has ensured that the findings of the special audit have been adequately addressed by GoFirst. Further, the restoration plan to operate 15 aircraft/114 daily flights has been reviewed and accepted by DGCA. The approval is subject to the outcome of the writ petitions/applications pending before the Delhi High Court and NCLT,” said the DGCA letter to RP.
The DGCA had earlier this month conducted a special audit of GoFirst facilities in Mumbai and Delhi. The audit focused on physical verification of safety related aspects and the arrangements made for resumption of flight operations as well as continued compliance with the requirements of holding an Air Operator Certificate by an operator.
GoFirst reduced its proposed proposal to restart its operations by around 30% following observations raised by DGCA following its recent audit. The audit ordered by regulator Vikram Dev Dutt found that the airline did not have enough pilots and other technical staff for the proposed scale of operations, including high-altitude Leh, and the number of flights it wanted to operate. Around 13 comments were raised following the audit, ranging from ongoing court cases to funding, refunds and spares.
“Agreeing” with the pilot shortage observation, GoFirst resolution professional (RP) Shailendra Ajmera wrote to the regulator on July 15 that the airline is now “planning to resume operations with 15 aircraft with 114 daily flights initially and add flights.” That’s when we’ll be able to stabilize operations and add pilots. GoA initially presented a plan to resume operations with 26 aircraft with approximately 160 daily flights.
The RP has also informed the DGCA that Go is yet to process refunds of over Rs 500 crore for canceled flights and advance bookings of around Rs 110 crore by the beginning of July. The DGCA had conducted a special audit of Go facilities in Delhi and Mumbai during the July 4-6 audit and then inspected its parked aircraft in Bengaluru, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Kannur.
Regarding funding they have told DGCA, “Based on our discussions with the Committee of Creditors (CoC), we are informed that the approval of interim funding is being discussed with the concerned competent authorities of the banks.”
GoFirst (RP) Shailendra Ajmera has invited expression of interest as part of the insolvency proceedings and has to be submitted by August 9, 2023. It turns out that the founder of the budget airline Wadia The group can bid for the airline. Interested parties will have to do so next month. The airline has 4,200 employees and the total revenue from GoFirst operations in FY22 was Rs 4,183 crore. A provisional list of potential resolution applicants will be released on August 19 and the last date for submission of that list will be August 24. The airline filed for bankruptcy on 2 May and suspended all its flights from 3 May.