The decision may save Go First. But it's aggravating for foreign partners who have leased aircraft to the carrier. Plus, more news from our daily roundup.
The Skift India Newsletter is your go-to platform for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.
Indian bankruptcy court National Company Law Tribunal has granted bankruptcy protection to cash-strapped airline Go First and a full moratorium on its assets and leases. The order prevents the airline’s lessors — some of which include Sky High XCV Leasing, ACG Aircraft Leasing Ireland, and SMBC Aviation Capital — from taking back aircraft. “This is a historic ruling as an application of insolvency has been admitted so fast. The order prevents a viable airline from becoming an unviable one. The purpose of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has always been revival,” said Go First CEO Kaushik Khona. This means there are chances that the airline might end up protecting some of its assets under the bankruptcy code to ensure its survival, as all its assets and properties remain as it is till the completion of the bankruptcy. The tribunal, in its order, said that an interim resolution professional would take over the airline management with immediate effect. The current operation of the airline’s 27 aircraft is also expected to continue and no employee of the company would be laid off, the Indian tribunal ordered. Earlier this month, the airline filed for bankruptcy, blaming “faulty” Pratt & Whitney engines for the grounding of about half its fleet.
Taj-parent Indian Hotels Company has announced the signing of a Vivanta hotel in New Gurugram in the north Indian state of Haryana. Set to be a part of a mixed-use development, the 160-key hotel will be developed in partnership with Delhi-based real estate company KPDK Buildtech. With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have 16 hotels across Taj, Vivanta, SeleQtions, and Ginger brands across the National Capital Region including four under development. The Tata-owned brand recently signed a Vivanta hotel in Jamshedpur, set to open doors in 2024 and another 130-room Vivanta-branded greenfield project in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Over 84 percent respondents surveyed in India have expressed increased intent to travel in the next six months as compared to 45 percent pre-pandemic, according to Thomas Cook (India)-SOTC Travel’s India Holiday Report – May 2023. Not only are multiple mini-cations back for 82 percent of respondents in addition to one or long holidays, but also that they are willing to pay 20 percent more on travel, the report revealed. Also noteworthy is the rise of Generation Z and millennial travelers with a ‘you only live once’ mindset driving travel desire and a growing travel appetite emerging from regional and remotest corners of India. While Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Ladakh seized a majority among preferred domestic destinations, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Italy emerged as clear favorites among international destinations despite visa challenges.
Nepal welcomed 92,185 Indian visitors in the first four months of this year, which comprises around 28 percent of its total arrivals. The number of Indian tourist arrivals in Nepal grew by 39.9 percent to 31,437 in April this year compared to 22,476 Indian arrivals last April. From India, 40 people, including 10 female climbers, have permission to climb different mountains, including the tenth-highest peak Annapurna and the world’s highest peak Mount Everest, according to the Himalayan nation’s tourism department. Last month, both countries agreed to sign up for cross-border digital payments using e-wallet, which would allow Indian tourists in Nepal to make digital payments using Indian e-wallets.
Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said it expected India’s budget hotel chain Oyo to generate between about $50 million and $55 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization — a measure of profit — this fiscal year. The Moody’s statement comes two months after Oyo Founder and Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal told employees in an internal townhall that the company expects to clock adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of nearly $97 million in fiscal 2024. Moody’s also affirmed Oyo-parent company Oravel Stay’s B3 corporate family rating while its outlook remained stable. “The stable outlook reflects our view that the company will maintain adequate liquidity buffers to support its operations until it turns cash flow positive over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Sweta Patodia, Moody’s assistant vice president and analyst.
Tata Group-owned Air India has extended the last date to apply for voluntary retirement offers for its employees till May 31, 2023, from April 30, the carrier said in a statement. The development comes after the airline made the offer in March for its non-flying staff, the second such offer by the Tata Group after taking control of the loss-making airline in January last year. According to the March announcement, a voluntary offer will be available for permanent general cadre officers who attain the age of 40 years or above and completed a minimum of five years of continuous service at the airline. Also, clerical and unskilled categories of employees who completed a minimum of five years of continuous service will be eligible. In June 2022, Air India launched the first phase of the voluntary retirement offer.
Homegrown hospitality company Suba Group of Hotels, a master franchisee of Choice Hotels India, has announced the launch of a 39-room Click Hotel Ayra in Seshadripuram, Bengaluru in the south Indian state of Karnataka. The company has recently launched a 27-room Clarks Collection Dehradun in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. In July last year, Choice Hotels signed a 15-year deal with the Suba Group to transition from a direct franchise market to a master franchise model. Suba had then assumed the responsibility as the master franchise holder for 58 of its properties open and under development. The company also owns the rights to develop the Clarion, Quality, and Comfort brands in the market.
The upcoming international airport in Halwara in the north Indian state of Punjab is expected to be operational by September, after missing two deadlines of January and June 2022 in the past. The terminal building is expected to be finished by the end of July, according to the state’s public works department. “Bids have been allotted and work is progressing well. The airport terminal would give connectivity to the Army area. There was initially some hurdle as the contract for internal roads had to be terminated and reallocated, which led to some delay. The Airports Authority of India will take over once the construction is complete,” said a department official. Once operational, the airport will provide ease of air travel for industrialists and students of Ludhiana and nearby districts.
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Photo credit: The current operation of Go First's 27 aircraft is expected to continue. Source: Anna Zvereva/Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GoAir,_VT-WJF,_Airbus_A320-271N_%2833789251028%29.jpg Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons