Key Points:

  • ACG Aircraft Leasing has informed a court that critical components are missing from at least two of the Airbus A320 planes leased to India's bankrupt Go First airline.

  • The ongoing legal battle between Go First and its lessors intensified after the airline was granted bankruptcy protection in May, freezing its assets and grounding over 50 Airbus planes.

  • SMBC, the world's second-largest aircraft lessor, warns that India's decision to restrict lessors from reclaiming their grounded planes could result in a market confidence crisis.

India's Go First Airline Accused of Missing Plane Components Amid Bankruptcy

NEWPORT BEACH —ACG Aircraft Leasing, a Newportbeach, California-based company, has revealed in court that vital components are absent from at least two of the Airbus A320 planes they've leased to India's financially troubled Go First airline. The announcement was part of ACG's attempt to recover its aircraft as the carrier undergoes bankruptcy proceedings in India.

A person familiar with the case disclosed that the court has not yet reached a decision on whether ACG can reclaim its planes. This comes after months of legal disputes between Go First and its foreign lessors, including Standard Chartered's Pembroke Aircraft Leasing, SMBC Aviation, and BOC Aviation. These lessors have struggled to regain control of more than 50 grounded Airbus aircraft following the bankruptcy protection granted to Go First in May.

In a confidential filing dated July 28, ACG presented photos and specifics to the Delhi High Court, documenting missing components from two Airbus A320 planes they had inspected. Omitted items included engine fan blades, the captain's side stick used for flying, a ground-steering tiller, a partially absent toilet seat, and a removed escape slide. The court document does not indicate how these parts went missing or who may be responsible.

Go First has been reticent on the issue, failing to respond to requests for comments. Despite its ongoing legal and financial issues, the carrier has expressed aspirations to restart its operations and secure investor funding. However, the airline's operations remain grounded for the time being.

The legal impasse has significant implications for the aviation leasing market. SMBC, the world's second-largest aircraft lessor, voiced concerns back in May that India's stance on preventing lessors from repossessing their aircraft could disrupt the market and erode confidence.

Go First attributes its financial troubles to engine-related issues from Pratt & Whitney, a claim the U.S.-based engine manufacturer insists is without merit. Nevertheless, the legal struggle between the bankrupt airline and its lessors continues, with leasing companies allowed only intermittent inspections of the planes in question.