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Phoenix, Khaitan get SC to stay NGT order for 100% CNG conversion of airport vehicles

Phoenix Legal obtained a stay, by the Supreme Court, on the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order that had directed all vehicles plying at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport to be converted to using only CNG as fuel.

Phoenix partner Mrinal Ojha, senior associate Ishaan Chhaya and associates Manvi Adhlakha and Nayantara Vohra briefed senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Neeraj Kaul for the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), i.e. airlines Jet Airways, Go Air, Spicejet and Indigo.

Caterer Ambassador Skychef instructed advocate Nakul Dewan.

Khaitan & Co partners Ajay Bhargava and Vanita Bhargava, principal associates, Rony John and Abhisaar Bairagi and associate Shweta Kabra acted for airport ground handlers like Air India Sats, the Bird Group, Celebi Airport Services and Indamer Mjets Airport Services.

The NGT in its hearing of a noise pollution case had on 24 November 2017 directed that all vehicles plying at the Delhi Airport should be converted to CNG within 6 months, i.e. by 24 May 2018, as then reported by ]Business Standard.

“This direction would have caused significant operational issues at the Delhi Airport. There are various categories of vehicles used by stakeholders, such as airlines and caterers, that cannot be converted to CNG. For example, airlines use mostly imported pushback tugs for pushing back aircrafts, which do not run on CNG. Similarly, caterers using hydraulic lifts to service large aircrafts such as Airbus 380s cannot draw power for them from CNG engines. The airlines, caterers and ground handlers were not parties in the NGT matter in which this direction was passed,” explained Phoenix.

Foreseeing the inherent problem with the NGT’s direction, the FIA and Sky Chef and certain ground-handlers appealed against it before the Supreme Court. The SC stayed the NGT’s order on 7 May.

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