Amritsar: As Go First Airlines grounded flights amid bankruptcy, passengers who booked their tickets with the airlines are left in the middle of nowhere.
Go First Airlines on Tuesday announced that its flight operations will remain cancelled from May 3 to May 5 adding that a full refund will be issued to the passengers.
Meanwhile, counters of Go First Airlines lie deserted at Amritsar airport as the cash-strapped airlines ground their flights.
A passenger of Go First Airlines said that the airline is only talking about giving a refund. "I have my flight to Mumbai, as I reached the airport there was nobody at the counter...we asked to adjust us to other flights but the airline is only talking about giving us a refund," said Gurvinder Singh the passenger.
Another passenger who booked her ticket with Go First Airlines said that the flight was cancelled suddenly and should have been given another flight.
"Our flight was cancelled suddenly. They should have given us another flight. They are telling us they will refund us after 7 days," said another passenger.
The official media account of Go First Airlines took to Twitter and said," Due to operational reasons, GoFirst flights for 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2023 have been cancelled. We sincerely apologise to our loyal customers. We assure you that we will be back with more information soon. A full refund will be issued through the original mode of payment shortly".
It is unfortunate that this operational bottleneck has dealt a blow to the airline's financial position. It has come to our knowledge that the airline has applied to the NCLT. It is prudent to wait for the judicial process to run its course
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the Government of India has been assisting Go First Airlines in every possible manner but it is incumbent upon the airline to make alternative travel arrangements for passengers so that they do not face inconvenience.
"Go First has been faced with critical supply chain issues with regard to their engines. The GOI has been assisting the airline in every possible manner. The issue has also been taken up with the stakeholders involved," Scindia said.
"It is unfortunate that this operational bottleneck has dealt a blow to the airline's financial position. It has come to our knowledge that the airline has applied to the NCLT. It is prudent to wait for the judicial process to run its course," he added.
An official said that the DGCA recently became aware that Go First has cancelled all of its scheduled flights on May 3 and May 4 without providing any prior notification to the regulatory authority.
This act of sudden cancellation by the airline is considered to be a violation of the conditions of approval for scheduling, according to the aviation watchdog.
"The airline did not report the cancellations in writing along with reasons for the same. This non-compliance with the approved schedule and failure to adhere to the provisions of CAR, Section 3, Series M, Part IV, has resulted in passenger inconvenience," said the DGCA.
The DGCA has taken note of these violations and has issued a show cause notice to Go First, seeking an explanation for its actions, it said.
On Tuesday, Go First Airlines said that due to the non-supply of engines by the US-based Jet engines manufacturer, operations will remain cancelled.
"Go First is facing financial crunch due to non-supply of engines by US-based jet engines manufacturer Pratt and Whitney (P&W) that has forced grounding more than 50 planes," a Go First official told ANI.
Go First owes financial creditors $798 million
Go First owes financial creditors 65.21 billion Indian rupees ($798 million), its bankruptcy filing showed.
As of April 30, Go First Air had not defaulted on any of these dues, it said in the filing, which was seen by Reuters.
"However, considering the present financial situation of the corporate applicant, defaults to financial creditors would be imminent," the filing said.
Lenders were not aware of the airline's plans to file for voluntary insolvency and will meet soon to take stock of the situation, said two people familiar with the matter. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not allowed to speak to the media.
The filing lists Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, Axis Bank and Deutsche Bank among Go First's financial creditors.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Emails sent to the other banks were not immediately answered.
The airline's total liabilities to all creditors stand at 114.63 billion rupees, the filing shows. This includes dues to banks, financial institutions, vendors and aircraft lessors.
"Currently, the assets of the company are not sufficient to meet its liabilities," the airline said in the filing.
The company has defaulted on payments to operational creditors, including 12.02 billion rupees to vendors and 26.60 billion rupees to aircraft lessors.
It has received notices from lessors for termination of aircraft lease agreements and some have started actions against the company to ground or repossess aircraft, the filing said.
Six lessors have also invoked letters of credit issued to them by lenders, it said.