Delhi High Court has ordered India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to start deregistering aircraft placed at insolvent Go First (GOW, Mumbai International). The court handed down its 141-page judgement on April 26.

Go First suspended flights in May 2023 and shortly afterwards filed for bankruptcy protection. Lessors moved to repossess their assets, but the DGCA declined to deregister the aircraft, citing a May 2023 National Company Law Appellate Tribunal ruling that placed a moratorium over Go First's assets, including the leased aircraft. Go First had dry-leased all of its 54 aircraft.

However, last week the High Court ordered the DGCA to process the deregistrations within five working days and told Shailendra Ajmera, Go First's resolution professional - who is also restrained from accessing and operating the aircraft and removing any parts or material from them - to provide all up-to-date information on aircraft to the lessors. The court also told the Airports Authority of India to liaise with the lessors on the export and airworthiness of the aircraft.

A copy of the judgement, seen by ch-aviation, lists Carlyle Aviation Partners special purpose vehicle (SPV) Accipiter Aircraft Investments 2 Limited; SMBC Aviation Capital; Minsheng Financial Leasing SPV BlueSky 31 Leasing Company Limited; Pembroke SPV Pembroke Aircraft Leasing 11; Merx Aviation Finance Limited SPV EOS Aviation 12 (Ireland) Limited; DAE Capital SPV DAE SY 22 12 Ireland Designated Activity Company; SKY Leasing SPV SFV Aircraft Holdings Ireland 9 DAC Limited; Aviation Capital Group; CDB Aviation SPV GY Aviation Lease 1722 Co Limited; BOC Aviation; Jackson Square Aviation; ICBC Financial Leasing SPV Sky High XCV Leasing Company Limited; and CCB Financial Leasing SPV Star Rising Aviation 13 Limited.

The resolution professional, India's equivalent of a bankruptcy administrator, can appeal the decision to India's Supreme Court. Last week, the judge rejected his application for a one-week stay of the order pending an appeal last week.

The outcome hinders a bid by Ajmera and the committee of creditors to sell Go First. They had recently secured court orders extending the administration period after receiving two bids to buy it - one from Sharjah-based Sky One and the other from EaseMyTrip founder Nishant Pitti and Ajay Singh, CEO of SpiceJet (SG, Delhi International). In the wake of the ruling, India's Economic Times reported that the parties had not arrived at a valuation for the airline despite extensive discussions. The committee of creditors reportedly believes the offer prices are too low and contingent on the successful outcome of an INR80 billion rupee (USD958 million) lawsuit against Pratt & Whitney. Last week's court ruling adds another wrinkle to the negotiations. Proponents of restarting Go First have argued that the airline must retain aircraft to relaunch. However, the lessors want their aircraft back and liquidation is becoming increasingly likely. Assorted creditors have filed claims against Go First worth more than INR62 billion (USD743 million).

"We have acknowledged the judgment issued by the Delhi High Court on April 26, 2024," said Pitti on X. "We will review the details of the order once we receive the official document. Following this review, we will evaluate our position and consider any necessary adjustments to our proposed offer for Go Air. Our commitment remains to proceed in a manner that respects the legal process and aligns with our strategic objectives."