SpiceJet aircraft diverted and seized over unpaid bills, then released by Dubai court 

One of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft owned by SpiceJet was recently seized by creditors in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Indian news outlet The Hindu reported that the aircraft had been operating a commercial flight, SG15 from Ahmedabad (AMD) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) on November 30, 2023, when it was diverted shortly before landing. It was forced to land at the nearby Al Maktoum airport (DWC), also in Dubai. 

The aircraft in question belongs to Carlyle Aviation Partners, which leased it to SpiceJet in 2018. The leasing firm became a SpiceJet shareholder last year, having converted a $100 million debt into a 7.5% equity stake in the company

However, this latest move was executed by Dubai’s authorities at the behest of another party, namely the engine lessor. According to reports that have appeared in the media, the lessor had obtained a court order to ground the aircraft and remove its engines.  

The B737-800 therefore remained at DWC for about a week, until December 7, 2023, when a fresh ruling from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Court allowed the release of the aircraft and its return to India. The Court has also ordered that SpiceJet’s legal fees, and potentially also the financial damage resulting from the grounding, be covered by the party that sought the injunction. 

This is the latest episode in the saga of SpiceJet financial troubles. In early 2022, a legal battle over unpaid fees with a Credit Suisse subsidiary threatened the future of the airline, until the relevant parties reached an agreement. However, this hasn’t ended SpiceJet’s legal and financial woes, as the Indian low-cost carrier continues to make frantic attempts to fend off its numerous creditors, while simultaneously attempting to keep its fleet airborne

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