Delhi HC Asks SpiceJet To Comply with UK Court Order To Return 2 Aircraft, 3 Engines
Ratna Singh (Bar  and  Bench) 21 May 2024
The Delhi High Court recently directed SpiceJet to comply with a United Kingdom (UK) court order and return two leased aircraft and three engines to TWC Aviation Capital (TWC), citing the airline's actions of removing the engines and using them in other aircraft.
Single-judge Justice Prathiba M Singh opined that sufficient damage was already caused by separating the engines from the aircraft leased to SpiceJet by TWC.
"Be that as it may, the separation of engines from the aircraft in this manner may not even be permissible in the opinion of this Court. The aircrafts frames and aircraft engines now being used separately would cause considerable reduction in the value of these aircrafts for the plaintiff. The dues are not forthcoming from the defendant," the Court said.
In the first interim order passed in the present case in April 2024, TWC (Plaintiffs) was allowed to take possession of two aircraft in the capacity of a receiver and not move them without the orders of the Court and the engines were allowed to be used by SpiceJet.
However, by way of the present order, the two aircraft and three engines were directed to be handed over to TWC unconditionally.
"This Court has no option but to direct that the aircrafts along with the engines along, with all relevant records relating to technical condition and usage of aircrafts shall be handed over to the Plaintiff by 28 May 2024," the Court ordered after noting that SpiceJet failed to pay lease rent dues to TWC Aviation.
TWC Aviation filed the suit before the High Court to enforce two orders issued in March by a court in the United Kingdom (UK), which directed SpiceJet to return the leased aircraft and engines to TWC.
It was further alleged that three engines from the leased aircraft were removed and being used in other aircraft.
TWC claimed ownership over two Boeing 737-800 aircraft along with three aircraft engines which were leased to SpiceJet.
According to TWC, a lease agreement dated May 27, 2019 was entered into with SpiceJet to lease these aircraft for 12 months at a basic rent of $180,000 per month.
TWC alleged that SpiceJet failed to make lease rental payments.
Various amendments were later made to the agreement to accommodate payment difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, SpiceJet breached the amended agreement as well, the Court was told.
It was further alleged that three engines from the leased aircraft were removed and being used in other aircraft.
TWC eventually initiated legal proceedings in London before a UK Court designated as the jurisdictional court in the agreement between TWC and SpiceJet.
The UK Court passed two orders in favour of TWC in March 2024. By one of these orders, SpiceJet was ordered to handover the leased aircraft and engines to TWC.
When SpiceJet failed to comply with the UK Court orders, TWC approached the Delhi High Court by filing a civil suit requesting the Indian court to pass orders to SpiceJet to comply with the UK Court's orders.
The Delhi High Court held that the suit was maintainable and proceeded to grant interim relief in favour of TWC.
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