The Wadia Group’s gamble to suspend Go First operations and go in for voluntary insolvency has paid off. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has accepted GoFirst’s resumption plan after ensuring that its audit observations have been complied with. The airline can now do so with 15 aircraft operating 114 daily flights if it has the funds to do so.Go had stopped flying on May 3, 2023.
The regulator on Friday permitted the airline’s resolution professional (RP) to “resume scheduled flight operations on availability of interim funding and approval of flight schedule.” Further, Go First RP has been “directed to ensure compliance with all the applicable regulatory requirements, ensure continued airworthiness of the aircraft engaged in operations and subjecting every aircraft to a satisfactory handling flight prior to deployment for flight operations.”

“DGCA has ensured that the findings of the special audit have been adequately addressed by Go First. Further, the resumption plan… for operating 15 aircraft/ 114 daily flights, has been reviewed and accepted by DGCA. The acceptance is subject to the outcome of the writ petitions/applications pending before Delhi high court and NCLT,” the DGCA letter to RP says.

The DGCA had earlier the month conducted a special audit of Go First facilities at Mumbai and Delhi. This audit focused on the safety related aspects and continued compliance of the requirements by an operator to hold an Air Operator Certificate as well as on the physical verification of the arrangements made for resumption of flight operations.
Go First scaled down its proposed resumption of operations by almost 30% following observations raised by DGCA post its recent audit. The audit ordered by regulator Vikram Dev Dutt found the airline does not have adequate pilots and other technical staff for the proposed scale of operations, including the number of flights it wanted to operate to high altitude Leh and Those. Almost 13 observations were raised post the audit, ranging from ongoing court cases to funding, refunds and spares.
“Concurring” with the pilot shortage observation, Go First resolution professional (RP) Shailendra Ajmera on July 15 wrote to the regulator saying the airline now plans to “resume operations initially with 15 aircrafts with 114 daily flights to begin with and add flights as and when we are able to stabilise operations and able to add pilots. ” Go had initially submitted a plan to resume operations with 26 aircraft with nearly 160 daily flights.
The RP has also told DGCA that Go has to process refunds of over Rs 500 crore for flights cancelled till early July and has advance bookings of about Rs 110 crore. The DGCA had conducted a special audit of Go facilities at Delhi and Mumbai from July 4-6 audit and then inspected its parked aircrafts at Bengaluru, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Kannur.
Regarding funding, he has told the DGCA, “Based on our discussions with the committee of creditors (CoC), we have been informed that approval for interim funding is being discussed with their respective competent authorities of banks.”
GoFirst (RP) Shailendra Ajmera has invited expressions of interest as part of the insolvency proceedings and the same have to be submitted by August 9, 2023. It is learnt the budget airline’s founder Wadia Group may bid for the airline. Interested parties have to do so next month. The airline has 4,200 employees and the total revenue from operations of Go First in FY 2022 was Rs 4,183 crores. A provisional list of prospective resolution applicants will be released on August 19 and the last date of submission to that list will be August 24. The airline had on May 2 filed for bankruptcy and suspended all its flights from May 3.

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