Go First plans to restart operations with 26 planes, 152 daily flights; submits plan to DGCA

Mumbai: Civil aviation ministry doing an analysis of routes affected by suspension of flights by Go First

BY | Friday, 2 June, 2023
(PC: Wireman27)

Cash-strapped Go First, which is undergoing voluntary insolvency resolution process, plans to restart operations with 26 planes and 152 daily flights, and has submitted the revival plan to aviation regulator DGCA, according to a source.

Besides, the airline is in discussions with lenders for funds to meet the working capital requirements.

The airline stopped flying from May 3 and is yet to pay some senior level executives and pilots.

On the condition of anonymity, the source said the carrier’s salary outgo is around Rs 30 crore per month and currently, the workforce is around 4,700 as many have put in their papers in one month.

The source said the airline management is awaiting the nod from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the revival plan and operations will resume soon after the regulator’s approval.

The Mumbai-based airline’s senior executives have held discussions with senior DGCA officials on the revival plan.

“As per the plan provided to the DGCA this week, Go First is looking to recommence operations with a fleet of 26 aircraft, of which 22 will be engaged in active operations and 4 will be kept as spares,” the source told PTI.

With this fleet, the airline will be operating 152 flights per day, the source added. Prior to grounding on May 3, the airline was operating around 200 flights daily.

According to the source, the regulator had raised certain queries and sought clarifications on the revival plan, and those have been addressed.

Prior to pausing operations a month ago, Go First was operating over 200 flights daily.

Go First, which had 5,000 employees just about a month ago, now has around 4,700 staff on its roll.

The budget carrier, which had been flying for more than 17 years, filed for voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on May 2 and the plea was admitted on May 10.

Meanwhile, amid a spike in airfares on certain routes, the civil aviation ministry is doing an analysis of the routes that have been affected by the suspension of flights by Go First.

On Thursday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said there is an unusual situation due to the Go First crisis and an excess demand on routes that the airline had been operating.

In a reflection of the imbalance between demand and supply, airfares on certain domestic routes are much higher than flights to destinations like Maldives and Dubai.

“Fares for Leh and Dehradun are currently 30 per cent higher compared to the fares for destinations like Maldives and Dubai. Average fares for Maldives and Dubai are Rs 11,000 whereas for Leh/Dehradun have gone up to Rs 14,200,” Patwari said.

Meanwhile, with many pilots at the now grounded Go First looking for other opportunities, the airline, in May, offered its captains Rs 1 lakh per month as “retention allowance”, in addition to their salary. First officers will get a retention allowance of Rs 50,000.

Travel portal Cleartrip’s Vice President – Air Category – Gaurav Patwari said the significant capacity reduction due to Go First being non-operational has contributed to the spike in airfares.

“There is a sharp spike in fares especially for travel within D15 which can be attributed to the ongoing Go First issue. The fares within D15 travel have increased by 22 per cent and at the aggregate level up by more than 20 per cent over April for domestic travel,” he said.

Generally, D15 refers to booking 15 days before travel.

“The spot fares in May have risen significantly versus April primarily due to peak season demand and a reduction in capacity due to the grounding of Go First, thereby creating an imbalance in demand and supply. The fares in D0 to 1 window are up by 40 per cent. We expect the current scenario to continue till mid of June,” he said.

Go First had been flying for more than 17 years.

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