Monday, January 30, 2023

Get Rs 210 crore first under the government's credit line guarantee programme: CEO

Go First to get Rs 210 crore under govt's credit line guarantee scheme: CEO

 MUMBAI: Go First, a budget airline owned by the Wadia group, plans to receive Rs 210 crore from the government next month as part of the government's credit line guarantee program.

According to CEO Kaushik Khona, the airline plans to have 53 operational aircraft in its fleet by the beginning of April this year. The airline received Rs 210 crore from the promoters last month.

At the moment, the airline operates 37 aircraft.

In addition to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and intense competition, the basic airline is dealing with problems with its Pratt & Whitney engines, which have necessitated the grounding of numerous aircraft due to a lack of spare engines.

Go First has so far received Rs 600 million from the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), which has provided relief to numerous pandemic-affected industries.

According to Khona, the airline will be eligible for an equivalent amount under the ECLGS next month because promoters have contributed Rs 210 crore.

Khona stated in an interview that the engine issues are "gradually" being resolved, and 20 new Pratt & Whitney engines are anticipated to arrive by April.

Go First can make 10 aircraft operational with the help of twenty engines. Two engines are on one plane.

He claims that seven brand-new Airbus A320 Neo aircraft will be operational by the first week of April. The airline recently welcomed one of these aircraft.

He added that one of the remaining six will arrive in April, three in March, and two in February.

He stated that the airline will acquire nine additional brand-new aircraft by March 2024.

Khona mentioned that Go First intends to increase passenger volume by 57% in fiscal 2023-2024.

He stated, "Today, we already have 37 aircraft operational" and that "by March, we will have 10 more aircraft in operation from the aircraft that are on the ground." Additionally, "We are receiving 20 serviceable engines."

He stated that the fleet will consist of 53 aircraft by April.

He stated, "This will assist us in operating 397-400 flights per day, and in doing so, we will be surpassing the previous peak of both our fleet and daily number of flights by a huge number."

According to Khona, the airline operated 333 flights per day with 46 aircraft at its peak.

He added that the airline now operates in a much more "stable" manner, with grounded aircraft returning to service while Pratt & Whitney provides engines.

Additionally, the carrier is benefiting from rising demand for air travel and improved yield, as well as fuel costs falling to 42% from 60% in September.

Go First was fined Rs 10 lakh this month by the aviation regulator DGCA for an incident at Bangalore airport in which 55 passengers were left behind in a passenger coach.

Khona stated that the airline had 51% of advanced bookings at the beginning of January, and that the following month they should be at the same level, which is a positive number. She also stated that advanced bookings for the period April to June also appear to be in good shape.

"We are giving benefits (in the form of special fare offers) to the passengers so that they can book in advance," Khona stated. "Going forward in April-June, the airfares will pick up."

He stated that Go First currently operates on average 6.5 flights per aircraft per day and has the best aircraft utilization rate in the industry at 14.20 hours per day. However, he acknowledged that the airline's On-Time Performance was a challenge.

He stated, "It is still a challenge as there was a lot of fog this time, and our percentage exposure to fog is higher than that of any other airline because our operations are more North dominant."

However, he stated that the OTP has improved significantly since January.

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