Fresh trouble for SpiceJet again, lessors seek 11 planes back

In a fresh trouble for the budget carrier SpiceJet, aircraft lessors have approached the aviation regulator DGCA, seeking its permission to repossess 11 Boeing planes of the airline, even as its revival plan is under review of the Civil Aviation Ministry.

New Delhi: In a fresh trouble for the budget carrier SpiceJet, aircraft lessors have approached the aviation regulator DGCA, seeking its permission to repossess 11 Boeing planes of the airline, even as its revival plan is under review of the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Besides, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is also yet to take a call on the airline's plea of allowing it to extend the forward bookings beyond March 31, official sources said today.

"The lessors want SpiceJet to return 11 leased Boeing planes to them and have written to DGCA in this regard," they said here.

The airline currently has 19 Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet.

On the other hand, the airline has requested DGCA to remove curbs on the forward bookings, which it can accept only till March 31, the sources said, adding that "DGCA has, however, not yet taken a decision on this issue."

SpiceJet, which is in the process of ownership change, however, said that all such issues pertain to prior to the period the airline was discussing recapitalisation plans which are being sorted out.

"All such payable issues and claim date from pre-ownership change and recapitalisation (plan) are in the process of being resolved," an airline official told PTI.

Yesterday, Mumbai Airport had served a notice to the airline, asking SpiceJet to pay its dues to the tune of Rs five crore, besides providing a bank guarantee of Rs 15 crore immediately.

Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the private airport, had in the notice also said the airline would be put on the pay-as-you-fly mode if it did not make payment and furnish the collateral.

Last week, SpiceJet board had approved a proposal that promoter Kalanithi Maran would transfer ownership, management and control of the airline to original founder Ajay Singh as part of plans to revive the ailing carrier.

The airline also submitted a "scheme of reconstruction and revival for the takeover of ownership, management and control of SpiceJet" to the Ministry for approval.

"The plan is being reviewed by the Ministry," the sources said.

"As part of this plan, the new promoters plan to increase Boeing fleet from 19 aircraft at present to 26 immediately after taking control of the carrier," they said.

Earlier, at the time of announcement of the deal, Singh had said the revival plan would focus on strengthening finances and operational efficiency, among others.

He has also drawn up a five-year plan to rejuvenate the low-cost carrier, which may include phasing out of the Bombardier Q400 fleet.

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