The founder and chairman of SpiceJet (SG, Delhi International) and a business partner have reportedly bid INR6 billion rupees (USD72.4 million) to buy insolvent Go First (GOW, Mumbai International), with INR2.5 billion (USD30.1 million) of it payable upfront. The pair are also reportedly planning to sell Go First's assets.

India's CNBC TV18 reported that SpiceJet's Ajay Singh and Nishant Pitti, co-founder of the OTA EaseMyTrip, intend to monetise many of Go First's assets if their bid is successful. Top of the list are two Mumbai real estate holdings that have been valued above the INR62 billion (USD747.4 million) in admitted Go First creditor claims.

Singh and Pitti also want existing creditors to invoke corporate guarantees previously provided by Go First's current owner Wadia Group and use the funds realised from that to reduce their claims. In addition, the duo will encourage creditors to pursue USD300 million awarded to the defunct carrier resulting from issues at Pratt & Whitney. After Go First suspended flights in May 2023, the airline savaged Pratt & Whitney in its subsequent insolvency filing, saying an “ever-increasing number of failing engines" had caused it to ground half its Airbus A320neo fleet and was the reason for the carrier's cash flow crisis.

Subject to approval from authorities, Singh and Pitti are also canvassing selling scores of slot pairs at Indian airports, saying there is a high demand for them at key airports. While the pair intend to resume flight operations at Go First, it will be a smaller version of its previous iteration. However, doing so will require negotiating fresh aircraft leases. All of Go First's 54 aircraft are leased, and in the wake of the airline's insolvency ch-aviation reported that lessors wanted to repossess the entire fleet.

In their bid to buy Go First, Singh disclosed that his net worth is around INR90 billion (USD1.08 billion) and that he holds a 50%-plus stake in SpiceJet. That stake is valued at approximately INR50 billion (USD602.7 million). In his disclosure, Pitti said his net worth was INR38 billion (USD458 million) and that he retains a 28% stake in EaseMyTrip.

Sharjah-based aviation company Sky One is also bidding to buy Go First. “The prospects of growth in India are a big reason for exploring the acquisition," its chairman Jaideep Mirchandani said this week. "Given our vast aviation experience across the globe, we are confident about the acquisition.”

Due diligence is now underway on both bids, with further announcements expected in the second half of March.