Key Points:

  • Ireland-based ACG Aircraft Leasing has appealed to the Delhi High Court to allow them to install 24-hour security for their aircraft leased to the bankrupt Go First airline, and to replace the components reported as "robbed."

  • Despite bankruptcy protection freezing Go First's assets and barring the retrieval of over 50 grounded Airbus planes, critical parts like fan blades and escape slides have allegedly gone missing from at least two of ACG's leased planes.

  • The court has yet to issue a ruling on ACG's plea, with the next hearing slated for September 13, amidst increasing concerns regarding the rapid deterioration and potential cannibalization of the grounded aircraft.

Lessors Fear Aircraft Cannibalization Amid Go First's Legal Troubles

DUBLIN — ACG Aircraft Leasing is urging the Delhi High Court to permit the provision of round-the-clock security to guard its leased jets currently grounded and held by the insolvent airline Go First. The Ireland-based leasing company has also requested the replacement of "robbed" components from its aircraft, as disclosed in a recent court filing on September 1, viewed by Reuters.

ACG's plea comes following the discovery of missing critical parts such as fan blades and escape slides from at least two of the four planes leased to Go First. This discovery was made several weeks after Go First got engulfed in legal disagreements with many foreign lessors, subsequent to being granted bankruptcy protection in May, a move that resulted in the freezing of its assets and halted the recovery of over 50 stranded Airbus planes.

The lessors have raised concerns over the potential cannibalization of the aircraft, citing the absence of critical parts in the planes. ACG took a step further by requesting a "robbery list" from Go First on August 24, a request that remained unfulfilled as Go First claimed the lack of court instructions to provide such details, according to court documents.

In a bid to safeguard its leased assets, ACG has urged the Delhi court to endorse the contracting of a 24-hour security detail for all its aircraft, as well as to facilitate the replacement of the pilfered components. Moreover, ACG seeks to recover an engine purportedly installed by Go First in another lessor's plane. The court, however, has not yet decreed on ACG's plea, with the following hearing set for September 13.

Furthermore, ACG underscored the urgency of the matter in its 140-page filing, likening planes to "perishable goods" that could "disintegrate at a rapid pace" if not aptly preserved, thereby incurring "huge irreparable loss." Meanwhile, Go First harbors aspirations of resuming operations and securing investor funds, despite its current grounded status.

Other lessors involved in this case include renowned names such as Standard Chartered's Pembroke Aircraft Leasing, SMBC Aviation, and BOC Aviation, with SMBC cautioning back in May about a possible confidence crisis and market jolt, stemming from India's decision to obstruct leasing firms from repossessing Go planes. At the moment, the lessors are limited to occasional inspections of Go planes, awaiting a breakthrough in the courtroom to safeguard their assets.