Go First has ‘lengthy history’ of missed payments: Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney hit back at Go First, saying the airline has failed to meet financial obligations multiple times in the past
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Pratt & Whitney has hit back at Go First following claims that it was forced to suspend operations and file for involuntary insolvency because of failed engines supplied by the engine maker. 

Go First filed for insolvency under Section 10 of India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) on May 2, 2023. 

In a statement, as reported by local media, Pratt & Whitney said that it was “committed to the success of our airline customers” and would continue “to prioritize delivery schedules for all customers”. Furthermore, the company said it “is complying with the March 2023 arbitration ruling related to Go First”. 

“Go First has a lengthy history of missing its financial obligations to Pratt,” a spokesperson for the company added.  

In March 2023, Go First threatened to sue Pratt & Whitney over persistent engine problems, affecting the number of aircraft the carrier could use in its operations. By May 1, 2023, the number of Airbus A320neo family aircraft grounded by the Indian LCC was around 50% of its total fleet or 25 aircraft. It proceeded with legal action and on March 30, 2023, an emergency arbitrator found that the airline’s “financial position was due in large part, if not wholly, to the number of grounded aircraft caused by the unavailability of Pratt & Whitney’s engines”. 

According to Go First’s announcement on May 2, 2023, the arbitrator told the engine maker to “take all reasonable steps to release and dispatch without delay to Go First at least 10 serviceable spare leased engines by April 27, 2023,” and 10 engines per month until December 2023. 

Ch-aviation.com data shows that out of 50 Airbus A320neo aircraft owned by the ariline, 28 are currently inactive. Go First also has five Airbus A320ceos, which were flying prior to the suspension of operations on May 2, 2023. 

“Pratt & Whitney has refused to comply with the emergency arbitrator’s order and to date, it has provided no spare leased engines at all nor provided any certainty with respect to the timeframe for the provision of spare leased engines in the future,” Go First claimed.  

As a result, the Indian airline suspended operations and proceeded to file an application with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the IBC. Once the application is admitted, the carrier expects that the appointed Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) “will sustain Go First’s operations, allowing it to serve many more passengers in the years to come”. 

Other airlines, including Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and airBaltic have stated that issues in supplying the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine family, also known as the Geared Turbofan (GTF), have negatively impacted their operations. airBaltic, for example, publicly stated that Pratt & Whitney’s engine turnaround delays had forced the Latvian airline to wet lease at least eight aircraft to cover its operations in the short term. 

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