Aeroflot is being prosecuted by an Irish unit of a US aircraft rental company

An Irish unit of US aviation and jet leasing company GA Telesis is the latest to launch legal proceedings in London against Russia’s Aeroflot and a subsidiary over a jet impounded in the country following its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year was, the Irish Independent has learned.

ain Aircraft Ireland has initiated the lawsuit against Rossiya Airlines and its parent company Aeroflot.

Lessors, hit by the unprecedented confiscation of their planes and engines in Russia after the invasion, have pursued insurers and customers to recoup billions of dollars in losses.

Western aircraft rental companies – many of them based in Ireland – have had to cancel leases with Russian airlines due to sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. However, most of the jets were effectively stolen by the Russian government.

Gain Aircraft Ireland – not to be confused with a very different company, Shannon-based Gain Jet – has leased two single-aisle Airbus 319 jets, including one to the Russian group.

Gain Aircraft Ireland’s latest publicly available accounts show that it entered into a deferred payment agreement with its Russian customer in 2020 as a result of the Covid pandemic. By the end of 2020, all lease rents and deferred rents had been received. There were no further applications for a deferral until mid-2021.

The accounts show that the rental income Gain Aircraft Ireland made from the two leased jets was US$3.8 million.

The two aircraft controlled by the leasing unit had a net book value of $20.2 million at the end of 2020 after taking $2.1 million in depreciation during the year.

One of the jets is 13 years old and leased to Rossiya. While it is said to be registered in Bermuda, it is one of the many jets now illegally re-registered in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

The jet, controlled by Gain Aircraft Ireland, is almost 16 years old and is said to have been last leased from US carrier Spirit Airlines.

Other lessors have also taken legal action in London over jets seized in Russia.

In April, AerCap’s Celestial Aviation Services unit in London filed a $46 million lawsuit against UniCredit because the Italian bank had guaranteed aircraft lease payments on behalf of Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank.

Celestial’s claim against UniCredit relates to guarantees in connection with lease agreements for two Boeing 747-400ERF freighters and three Airbus A319-100 jets. The two 747s are leased to AirBridge Cargo Airlines, while the three Airbus aircraft are leased to Aurora Airlines.

Aurora is a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled Aeroflot and operates primarily from Russia’s far east. AirBridge Cargo Airlines is part of the Volga-Dnepr Group, headquartered in Moscow.

In May, two Irish units of aircraft rental company Aircastle filed a nearly $25 million claim against UniCredit to enforce letters of credit related to aircraft seized in Russia. Aircastle Chief Legal Officer Chris Beers warned the aviation sector not to worry that Russia’s actions could have a significant knock-on effect in terms of insurance coverage. Aeroflot is being prosecuted by an Irish unit of a US aircraft rental company

Fry Electronics Team

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