SpiceJet, ordered to return two aircraft, engines to lessor after losing legal battle 

Andrew W. Sieber / Flickr.com

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has been forced to return two aircraft and three engines to its lessors after having its appeal rejected by the Delhi High Court. 

In the latest legal battle with its creditors, two judges upheld a previous ruling that mandated SpiceJet to comply with a preceding UK court order mandating the return to leasing firm TWC Aviation Capital of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft as well as three engines. The latter had reportedly been removed from their original mountings and fitted onto other aircraft. 

The aircraft at the center of this dispute were leased by SpiceJet in 2019 for US$180,000 per month. The airline has accumulated unpaid debts of around 120 INR crore, (roughly equivalent to US$14.5 million). 

The court dismissed the arguments of SpiceJet’s lawyers, which alleged that the embattled airline is fighting for its survival and that its continued operation prevents the establishment of a de facto duopoly in the Indian air travel market.  

SpiceJet, however, managed to get some additional weeks, until mid-June 2024, to return the aircraft to its owners. 

In the past 12 months, SpiceJet has been fending off creditors, which have been seeking to have aircraft repossessed on account of late payments. In December 2023, for example, a Boeing 737-800 belonging to lessor Carlyle Partners was briefly seized by authorities in Dubai before it was allowed to return to India. 

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