SpiceJet lessor asks Indian regulator to de-register 3 planes

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FILE PHOTO: Man looks out through a window with an advertisement of SpiceJet Airline, on a commercial building in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Dubai-based lessor of SpiceJet Ltd has asked India's aviation regulator to deregister three of the budget airline's planes as SpiceJet struggles with high costs and maintenance challenges.

The United Arab Emirates aeronautics firm AWAS did not specify why it was seeking to deregister the three Boeing 737s in Friday's notification, published by India's aviation regulator.

SpiceJet told Reuters it was returning older aircraft in a phased manner, including these three aircraft, as a part of modernization plan.

"These returns have been planned and will not have any impact on our operations," a company spokesman said by email. SpiceJet returned 12 old Boeing aircraft to lessors last year, the statement said.

AWAS did not immediately reply to a email seeking comment.

India's director general of civil aviation on Wednesday ordered SpiceJet to halve its departures for eight weeks after technical problems raised safety concerns.

Lessors typically apply for deregistration when lease agreements are terminated for reasons including nonpayment of lease rentals.

AWAS filed its request under Irrevocable Deregistration and Export Request Authorisations provisions, which are typically filed after payment negotiations between a lessor and airline fail.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Writing by Aftab Ahmed in New Delhi; Editing by William Mallard)

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