The aviation regulator - the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) - has deregistered 17 aircraft of Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines, a move that would bring huge relief to international leasing companies, which had leased aircraft to the grounded carrier but were unable to take them back.
Kingfisher hasn't operated a single flight since October last year and owes money to lenders, airports and employees.
"Seventeen Kingfisher aircraft have been deregistered and except two to three of them that are under litigation, the rest can be taken back by lessors," DGCA chief Arun Mishra said on Tuesday. Kingfisher has 25 more planes, both owned and leased, but there has been no request to deregister those, he added.
However, lessors would have to clear the parking charges from the date of deregistration to the date they fly back the planes, said Mishra, adding, International Lease Finance Corp, a unit of insurer AIG, will not allowed to take back two-three planes it owns before settling a pending litigation.
Airport operators, particularly the Airports Authority of India, had seized several Kingfisher aircraft and decided not to release them till KFA cleared dues. Some leasing firms had moved court, which ordered that the lessors had a right over these aircraft.
The dispute over Kingfisher's leased planes is seen as a major test of the Cape Town convention, a global treaty to standardise transactions involving moveable property like aircraft, including contracts of sale and leases.