The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied relief to Paramount Airways, whose three planes out of a functional fleet of four have been grounded by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) following a dispute with its lessor, GE Capital Aviation Service Ltd (GECAS).
“You pay some money to them [lessor]... you will make money from flying those aircraft,” said a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B.S. Chauhan.
Earlier, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Paramount, said the Coimbatore-based airline had a 27 per cent market share in south India and its passengers were suffering. “As per the Delhi High Court order, DGCA would hear us tomorrow [Wednesday] and would pass an order by Monday. Till that period allow us to fly.”
However, the plea was opposed by senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the U.K.-based GECAS and Celestial Aviation Trading, saying though their agreement terminated in October last, Paramount had been having all three aircraft in its possession. “Every hour an aircraft flies, it goes from my own pocket as a life of an aircraft is measured by its flying hours.” Also, Mr. Salve said, they had to bear the maintenance cost.
The court listed the matter for Friday.
The Delhi High Court on March 22 directed the DGCA to give Paramount a personal hearing on March 29 and pass an order within two weeks, while dismissing the airline's petition to stay the order de-registering its planes.
Paramount has also approached the Madras High Court for relief from the orders of the Queen's Bench, London, which directed the carrier to pay $10 million to GECAS by March 10.
The court on March 18 dismissed the airline's plea and directed it to stop all flying activities of the three disputed planes by March 19.
Following the order, Paramount approached the Delhi High Court, where it earlier challenged the DGCA's action.
The DGCA in December last year deregistered the three 72-75-seater Embraer planes on a plea by GECAS; after that the airline got a stay.
On March 15, a single-member Bench of the High Court dismissed Paramount's petition and vacated the stay, following which DGCA issued fresh directions on March 18 to ground the planes.