Monday, July 24, 2023

Go First Revival Plan: DGCA’s nod welcome but stipulated riders tough to follow

India’s regulatory authority for civil aviation, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), last Friday accorded its nod to Go First’s revival plan, albeit with multiple riders — some easy to comply with, some not so. Quite expectedly, this has raised optimism about Go First flying again in the not-so-distant future.

A bit of scepticism on whether the airline will really take to the skies, however, is not out of place for two reasons. First, no Indian carrier has hitherto flown again after being out of operation. (ModiLuft did fly again but under a new promoter and under a new brand name, SpiceJet, as we know it now). Second, Jet Airways 2.0 — which not only had new promoters selected through the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) bidding process and the DGCA’s approval for resuming operations — has failed to fly, and will perhaps never. The creditors of Jet Airways urged the Supreme Court last week to wind up the grounded airline, claiming that the approved resolution plan was not workable.

The reference to Jet Airways becomes imperative as there are not only several stakeholders such as the committee of creditors (CoC), aircraft lessors, Go First employees, oil companies, airports, other vendors to whom the airline owes money, and, of course, the Resolution Professional acting on behalf of the management, but they have also to be necessarily and unconditionally taken on board for a common pursuit. As seen in the case of Jet Airways, multiple unforeseen financial claims cropped up to hinder the transformation from a grounded to an operational airline. Based on the learnings from the Jet Airways experience, it is of paramount importance that all major and minor stakeholders of Go First are taken on board at this stage itself.

24/07/2023 Jitender Bhargava/Moneycontrol

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