EaseMyTrip founder no longer wants to buy GoFirst: Nishant Pitti withdraws bid, had made a joint bid with SpiceJet in February

EaseMyTrip co-founder and CEO Nishant Pitti has withdrawn his bid to buy cash-strapped airline GoFirst. Pitti said, “After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the bid for GoFirst. This decision allows me to focus on other strategic priorities and initiatives, which are linked to our long-term vision and growth objectives.” He said that we will continue to face new opportunities and challenges and our commitment is that we will continue to provide excellent service. Nishant Pitti’s majority stake-holding company Busy Bee had shown interest in buying stake in GoFirst. For this, in February, Busy Bee had bid together with SpiceJet MD and Chairman Ajay Singh. Busy Bee Airways Private Limited is a joint venture of Nishant Pitti and Ajay Singh. DGCA had cancelled the registration of 54 aircraft of Go First on May 1 Earlier, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had cancelled the registration of 54 aircraft of Go First Airlines on May 1. On April 26, the Delhi High Court had asked for deregistration of the aircraft leased by Go First within 5 working days. After this the aviation regulator took this action. Aircraft leasing companies include Pembroke Aviation, Excipient Investments Aircrafts 2 Limited, EOS Aviation and SMBC Aviation. These companies had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking release of the aircraft which were leased to Go First. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on May 22, 2023 also upheld the order of NCLT i.e. National Company Law Tribunal, under which Go First’s petition for bankruptcy was accepted. Go First flights are closed since May 3 last year Go First flights are closed since May 3 last year and it is undergoing voluntary bankruptcy process. The airline had informed on May 2, 2023 last year that it is cancelling all its flights for May 3, 4 and 5. Since then, Go First has been continuously extending the date of suspending flights. The airline owes Rs 6,521 crore to lenders Go First owes Rs 6,521 crore to its lenders. Acuite Ratings and Research had said in its report of January 19 that Central Bank of India had the highest exposure of Rs 1,987 crore, followed by Bank of Baroda with Rs 1,430 crore, Deutsche Bank with Rs 1,320 crore and IDBI Bank with Rs 58 crore. Operations had to be stopped due to non-supply of engines The airline had claimed that it had to stop its operations due to non-supply of engines. American aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney (PW) was supposed to supply engines to Go First, but it did not supply them on time. As a result, Go First had to ground more than half of its fleet of aircraft. This caused huge losses. Due to non-flights, the airline ran out of cash and did not have money left for refueling. These engines were used in the airline’s A20 Neo aircraft. The first flight flew from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in 2005. Go First is a budget airline of the Wadia Group. According to the company’s website, Go First was started on 29 April 2004. In November 2005, it operated its first flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The airline’s fleet consists of 59 aircraft. Of these, 54 aircraft are A320 NEO and 5 aircraft are A320 CEO. Go First used to operate its flights to 35 destinations. Of these, 27 were domestic and 8 were international destinations. The airline changed its brand name from GoAir to GoFirst in the year 2021.

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