The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Wednesday told the Delhi High Court it was due to a technical glitch on its portal that the applications of several aircraft lessors of Go First for deregistration of their planes were shown as ‘rejected.’
The aviation regulator said it was not processing such requests following a moratorium on financial obligations and transfer of assets of the crisis-hit airline in the wake of insolvency resolution proceedings. The lessors are unable to deregister and take back the aircraft leased to the carrier because of the moratorium.
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Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju asked the counsel for DGCA as to why different responses were sent to different lessors on repossession requests.“Why is there a distinction? There are 7-8 petitions, and each one of them has a different response. Why so?” the court asked.
The court asked the DGCA counsel to produce the documents in relation to each petitioner lessor on Thursday, when it will hear further arguments on behalf of the aviation regulator.
Earlier, the lessors had told the high court that the denial of deregistration by the DGCA was “illegitimate.”The lawyers for the lessors had said they approached the DGCA for the deregistration of their aircraft, but it rejected their pleas. They had said they have not received any communication from the DGCA, but having checked the status of their applications on the regulator’s website, they found their requests have been rejected.
Advocate Anjana Gosain, representing DGCA, said it is done in five working days when lessors send deregistration requests to the regulator. She said in this case, no application has been rejected. There was a glitch in the portal due to which it showed that the applications have been rejected, the lawyer said.“They have made the applications on the portal on May 4. Unfortunately, a glitch came. When they opened on May 12, it showed them to be rejected,” she submitted.
When the DGCA received the moratorium communication, it conveyed to the lessors their applications were not being processed because of that, its counsel said. She said she will produce the entire list of 54 applications before the court including those of the petitioners and others.
On May 10, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had admitted the airline’s voluntary insolvency resolution petition and appointed Abhilash Lal as the IRP to manage the carrier.
Earlier, the NCLT-appointed Interim Resolution Professional (IRP), tasked with managing the crisis-hit Go First, had told the high court that returning aircraft to the lessors will render the airline, which has 7,000 employees to look after, “dead”.
The IRP was responding to pleas by several aircraft lessors of Go First seeking deregistration of their planes by aviation regulator DGCA so they could take them back from the airline.
The lessors who have approached the high court are Accipiter Investments Aircraft 2 Ltd, EOS Aviation 12 (Ireland) Ltd, Pembroke Aircraft Leasing 11 Ltd, SMBC Aviation Capital Ltd, SFV Aircraft Holdings IRE 9 DAC Ltd, ACG Aircraft Leasing Ireland Ltd, and DAE SY 22 13 Ireland Designated Activity Company.
On May 22, the NCLAT upheld the order of the Delhi-based principal bench of NCLT, which had admitted the plea of Go First to initiate voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings, and appointed the IRP to suspend the company’s board. Several lessors approached the aviation regulator for deregistration and repossession of 45 planes they had leased to the carrier.
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