| 2 October 2023, Monday |

Fan blades, engine parts go missing from Go First jets, lessor says

Critical parts missing from at least two planes of India’s insolvent Go First airline, according to its Ireland-based lessor ACG Aircraft Leasing, as it looks to retrieve aircraft.

After being given bankruptcy protection in India in May, Go First and several of its overseas lessors have been embroiled in a court battle for months. Bankruptcy has frozen its assets and prevented the retrieval of nearly 50 grounded Airbus (AIR.PA) jets.

The lessors have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to reclaim their planes in Indian courts, citing worries that components may go missing and harm their assets. Lessors are only permitted to check Go First planes on an as-needed basis.

ACG is attempting to reclaim planes by claiming that checks revealed missing parts, but the court has yet to rule on the subject, according to a person familiar with the situation on Saturday.

ACG filed images and documents to the Delhi High Court in a non-public filing dated July 28 and accessed by Reuters, detailing missing components from two Airbus A320 planes it inspected.

These included the captain’s “side stick” for flying the plane, a tiller to assist guide it while on the ground, engine fan blades that were “completely missing,” a partially missing toilet seat, and a dismantled escape slide.

The document makes no mention of who removed the pieces or how they went missing.

Go First, whose lessors also include Standard Chartered’s Pembroke Aircraft Leasing, SMBC Aviation and BOC Aviation, did not respond to a request for comment. It has previously said it aims to resume operations and raise investor funds, but the operations remain grounded.

The world’s second-largest aircraft lessor, SMBC, warned in May that India’s decision to block leasing firms from reclaiming Go planes would jolt the market and spark a confidence crisis.

Go blames its financial woes on problems with engines from Raytheon-owned (RTX.N) Pratt & Whitney. The U.S. engine maker has said the claims are “without merit”.

  • Reuters