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NEW DELHI : The Madras high court has turned down an appeal by SpiceJet Ltd against a December order by a single-judge bench to wind up its operations after the airline failed to make payment of over $24 million to Swiss maintenance, repair and overhauling (MRO) service provider SR Technics.  A division bench comprising judges Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup and Paresh Upadhyay, however, extended a stay order on the judgement till 28 January, allowing SpiceJet to approach the Supreme Court.

The single-judge bench of Justice R. Subramanian, which had last month directed the official liquidator to take over assets of SpiceJet, had then conditionally stayed the order for a period of three weeks, giving the airline time to lodge an appeal.

A SpiceJet spokesperson said that the company is examining the order and will take appropriate remedial steps as per legal advice received.

“The Madras high court has agreed to extend the application of stay order till 28 January 2022," the airline spokesperson added.

The petition (against SpiceJet) was filed by Credit Suisse AG, which is mandated to receive pending dues on behalf of SR Technics.

According to the petitioner, SpiceJet had reached an agreement with SR Technics for MRO services for 10 years in November 2011.

SpiceJet lawyers argued that the MRO firm didn’t have valid authorizations from the Indian civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), between 2009 and early 2015. 

The Ajay Singh-led airline also faces a lawsuit at the Delhi High Court from aircraft lessor Goshawk and its trustee Wilmington Trust SP Services Dublin Ltd. regarding unpaid dues. The Court is set to hear the case again in February. 

This development comes when Indian airlines have been reeling from the covid-19 pandemic, which has eroded air passenger traffic and impacted revenues. 

Indian airlines are expected to report a combined net loss of 25,000-26,000 crore in FY22, and would require additional funding of 45,000-47,000 crore between FY22 and FY24 to sustain operations, according to data from credit rating agency Icra.

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