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Go First airline stops flights as cash runs out, blames US firm P&W for engine failures in planes

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Wadia Group-owned Go First airline will not operate any flights on Wednesday and Thursday as it has run into a financial crisis. The airline has also started insolvency proceedings with the National Company Law Tribunal in Delhi.

The airline blamed US engine maker Pratt & Whitney (P&W) for its problems as half of its planes were grounded due to engine failures.

Go First said in a statement that it had to stop flights “due to the ever-increasing number of failing engines supplied by US company P&W International Aero Engines, which has resulted in Go First having to ground 25 aircraft (equivalent to approximately 50 per cent of its Airbus A320neo aircraft fleet).”

This has caused a funds crunch as sufficient earnings were not flowing in since half the fleet was grounded. The airline was unable to clear its fuel bills and the oil companies had put it on cash and carry mode, which means it could only get fuel on direct cash payment.

The airline in its statement said a Singapore arbitrator ordered P&W to supply at least 10 serviceable spare leased engines by April 27, 2023 and 10 more engines – one each per month – by December this year. But P&W has followed the order.

“… That order (of the arbitrator) directed P&W to take all reasonable steps to release and dispatch (the engines) without delay to Go First…” the airline said. “If P&W were to comply with the orders in the emergency arbitrator’s award, Go First would be able to return to full operations by August-September 2023,” the airline said.

Go First said P&W informed them that there were no further spare leased engines available for P&W to comply with the emergency arbitrator’s award.

The Wadia Group is reported to have infused  Rs 3,200 crore into the airline in the past three years taking their total investment in the airline since its inception to around Rs 6,500 crore.

The airline employs over 5,000 people. The airline has 59 aircraft, of which 54 are A320neo and five are A320ceo, according to its website.