Relaunch plans hatched by Go First (GOW, Mumbai International) have received a setback with confirmation lessors want to repossess every aircraft in the carrier's now-grounded fleet, according to India's civil aviation minister, V. K. Singh.

"The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has received applications from lessors for deregistration of a total number of 54 aircraft leased to Go First," Singh told India's Council of State earlier this week in response to a question taken on notice. "Processing of the applications by DGCA is subject to the outcome of the cases before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), and the High Court of Delhi."

According to ch-aviation fleets data, the aircraft at Go First include five A320-200s and forty-nine A320-200Ns. While the lessors may have applied to the DGCA to deregister and repossess their planes, that agency has paused all requests following a National Company Law Tribunal ruling in May that prevented lessors from repatriating their aircraft. Impacted lessors include Aviation Capital Group (four aircraft); BOC Aviation (one aircraft); CCB Financial Leasing (four aircraft); CDB Aviation (eleven aircraft); DAE Capital (two aircraft); ICBC Financial Leasing (six aircraft); Jackson Square Aviation (eight aircraft); Maverick Aviation Partnership (one aircraft); Merx Aviation Finance (one aircraft); Minsheng Financial Leasing (five aircraft); SKY Leasing (one aircraft); and SMBC Aviation Capital (nine aircraft). ch-aviation has reported that aircraft lessors have submitted INR180 billion Indian rupees (USD2.2 billion) in creditor claims to Go First's resolution professional.

Go First paused operations in early May but has consistently maintained that it will relaunch. Most recently, the DGCA approved a scaled-back restart plan, allowing it to operate 116 daily flights using 15 aircraft and servicing eight airports. That was contingent on Go First securing sufficient working capital and accepting ongoing DGCA oversight. Recently, Shailendra Ajmera, Go First's resolution professional, admitted that the airline would need to sign fresh leases or have termination applications revoked to restart.

At least one lessor is taking its fight to reclaim its aircraft to courts outside India, with DAE (SY22) 13 Ireland Designated Activity Company filing a claim against Go Airlines (India) Limited in the United Kingdom's High Court on June 5. Go Airlines (India) Limited is the corporate entity that trades as Go First, while DAE (SY22) 13 Ireland is a special-purpose vehicle linked to the lease of an A320neo by Dubai-based DAE Capital. That aircraft is VT-WDD (msn 11160) and is currently stored at Kannur. While searches of legal databases indicate that this is the only UK-originated lawsuit active against Go First. However, as attested by number of active lawsuits now running against SpiceJet (SG, Delhi International), the UK is a favoured jurisdiction for lessors seeking contract dispute legal remedies.

Meanwhile, Go First operated a test flight of a grounded aircraft in anticipation of a restart. Posted on Go First's still active social media accounts, A320neo VT-WGD (msn 7205) operated a 40-minute flight offshore from Mumbai on the evening of July 25. That aircraft is leased to Go First by SMBC Aviation Capital. That lessor did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.