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New Delhi, India - Two aircraft leasing companies are in talks with the Indian low-cost operator SpiceJet to end leasing contracts and take back their planes due to the missed payments.

One of the leasing companies started to pull out a few planes earlier this year after SpiceJet has failed to pay maintenance fees due since late last year and lease rentals since last month, said one source, adding that talks were continuing over other jets.

The second lessor began discussions last month just as the coronavirus pandemic started crippling the airline industry, according to the second source. About 10 planes in total have been or could be repossessed, with leases terminated by the airline’s agreement, according to the sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

A SpiceJet spokesman described queries related to the discussions with lessors as“speculative, misleading and baseless.

“We share excellent relationships with all our partners and lessors and our agreements with them are confidential. Our fleet structure and exits have been planned exits at our option to cater to the demand requirements,” he said, adding SpiceJet was taking various steps to re-align its operations with current travel restrictions worldwide."

The carrier did not comment on specific queries about dues owed to lessors or delays in making payments.

SpiceJet is not alone in wrestling with the impact of the coronavirus crisis, which has seen airlines worldwide seeking delays in rent and deliveries or state help. Estimated global airline losses from the coronavirus pandemic have climbed to $314 billion, trade body IATA said last week.

Avolon, a leading global lessor, said this month it had received requests from more than 80% of its customers for relief from payment obligations.
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