Pratt & Whitney says India’s Go First has no right over engines

By Aditya Kalra and Arpan Chaturvedi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Pratt & Whitney has no engines currently available for India’s Go First airline, which also has no rights over them, the counsel for the U.S. firm told a Delaware court on Thursday as the two companies engaged in a raging dispute over the supplies.

The Indian airline has approached the Delaware court to enforce an arbitration order it won in Singapore against Pratt & Whitney, which it blames for its financial troubles and argues the U.S. firm failed to supply engines on time. Pratt says those claims are without merit.

Go First has been granted bankruptcy protection in India with a court-appointed administrator trying to revive the airline. This has also sparked a bitter tussle with many of Go First’s lessors as they have terminated their lease agreements and are trying to repossess the planes.

During a court hearing on Thursday, which Reuters accessed via a court-assigned teleconferencing system, a lawyer for Pratt argued Go First no more has a right over the engines after termination of leases.

“There are no engines available to be sent to Go First … these leases have been terminated and they (engines) cannot be sent because Go First has no right to them,” said the Pratt & Whitney counsel.

Go First counsel argued that position was incorrect, saying the bankruptcy process in India provides a freeze on any repossession of planes by any lessor, and so it continues to have a right over them and the engines.

The Indian airline’s counsel added the engines were critical to its revival.

The Singapore arbitrator on March 30 had ordered Pratt to assist Go First and supply serviceable spare engines to the airline, which has said it grounded half of its 54 Airbus A320neo planes due to engine issues.

Pratt argues the arbitration order is not enforceable.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Arpan Chaturvedi; Editing by David Gregorio)