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Go Airlines: Legal scene now shifts to US court

Go Airlines said that even if Pratt & Whitney complied with the arbitration award, it would be able to resume full operations by August/September 2023.

Published Date – 03:18 PM, Wed – 10 May 23

Go Airlines: Legal scene now shifts to US court

Chennai: After getting what it had prayed for before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the legal scene now shifts to a US court where Go Airlines (India) Ltd has filed a suit against the aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney.

The Wadia group’s low cost airline has taken Pratt & Whitney to the court in the US to make it honour the award given by an emergency arbitrator appointed in accordance with the 2016 Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

Speaking to IANS, Go Airlines CEO Kaushik Khona said the US court’s decision is expected to happen soon.

According to the airline, it was forced to apply to the NCLT after Pratt & Whitney, the exclusive engine supplier for its Airbus A320neo aircraft fleet, refused to comply with an award issued by an emergency arbitrator appointed in accordance with the 2016 Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

“That order directed Pratt & Whitney to take all the reasonable steps to release and dispatch without delay to Go First at least 10 serviceable spare leased engines by April 27, 2023 and a further 10 spare leased engines per month until December 2023, with the objective of Go First returning to full operations and achieving its financial rehabilitation and survival,” the airline added.

Go Airlines said that even if Pratt & Whitney complied with the arbitration award, it would be able to resume full operations by August/September 2023.

Khona said even meeting the top brass of Pratt & Whitney when they visited India in January 2023 did not result in any positive response.

The top brass of Pratt & Whitney led by Shane Eddy, President, had been to Bengaluru in January 2023 to officially open the doors of the companya’s India Engineering Centre (IEC).

“On January 19, 2023, Varun Berry (Managing Director and Vice Chairman of the Wadia group’s Britannia Industries Ltd) and I had gone to Bengaluru to meet Eddy and Mr.Hendrik Deurloo, President, (Commercial Engines) to again asking to provide much awaited and promised repaired engines and spare engines and induct failed engines into MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul),” Khona told IANS.

According to Go Airlines, the engine maker had promised through a signed Side letter in 2012 that if an engine failed within its initial 6,000 hours (or 4,200 take-off and landing cycles) of normal operation, it would repair and recondition that engine at no charge.

The airline said Pratt & Whitney engine problems have been an industry wide issue. The teething problems continue even after so many years clearly indicating an inherent design problem.

“These GTF engines were developed on an unproven, anew’ technology platform prematurely tested and forced into the market to capture airline attention with performance stats that were never achieved,” Go Airlines charged.

“Between 2016 and February 2023 GoFirst (brand of Go Airlines) carried out 510 GTF Engine removals: 289 Engine Changes as a result of at least 28 different defects, and 221 Engine Swaps. It also shows that the most prevalent technical issue, by some order of magnitude, has been combustor distress, with 140 GTF Engines removed for this issue alone.”

The airlines said 15 per cent of total Pratt & Whitney GTF powered aircrafts are grounded because of faulty engines globally (178 aircrafts are grounded out of 1,219 aircraft as of March this year.

And the most affected region is India with 65 grounded aircraft out of a total 178.

“Out of a total 60 global customers, only four have grounded aircraft in excess of 25 per cent and two of them are Indian. Pratt & Whitney’s recent proposal whereby they proposed to give 5 per cent of induction slots to Go First despite AOG’s (aircraft on ground) at 54 per cent is hard to believe and is a deliberate attempt to kill Go First,” Go Airlines said.

According to Khona, if Indian passengers are suffering high airfare now then it is due to Pratt & Whitney.

“They (Pratt & Whitney) take India for granted,” said Khona.

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