220405 Indian Airlines
The airline has lost Rs108 billion due to the planes going out of service. Image Credit: WAM

Beleaguered Go Airlines India Ltd (branded Go First) has been asked to stop selling tickets after it filed for insolvency blaming repeated failures in Pratt and Whitney engines.

The Indian aviation regulator said in a statement on Monday it will decide in 15 days whether the airline’s operating licence should be continued or not. By canceling flights suddenly, the airline failed to provide “service in a safe, efficient and reliable manner”, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

Go Air, which has half of its Airbus SE fleet idle, had to change and swap 510 faulty GTF engines between 2016 and February this year, it said. Its engines failed prematurely and shut down as the combustor deteriorated faster than it should. The airline has lost Rs108 billion ($1.3 billion) due to the planes going out of service.

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Helmed by billionaire Nusli Wadia’s group, the airline is facing the risk of losing at least 20 jets to lessors, including Dublin’s GY Aviation Lease and SMBC Aviation Capital. The airline’s CEO Kaushik Khona is hopeful of resuming flights within seven days if the bankruptcy court restricts lessors from seizing planes.

Carriers globally have been hit by a shortage of engines and spare parts. Deutsche Lufthansa AG has a third of its A220 fleet temporarily grounded in Zurich because of issues with Pratt engines. IndiGo, India’s biggest airline, is seeking compensation from engine makers for some 30 grounded planes.

Go Air filed for insolvency last week, seeking protection from lessors and creditors. The court is yet to deliver its final ruling.