Aviation expert on Putin’s plan to steal plane: It’s like capturing Irish citizens and forcing them to become Russian citizens


An Irish aircraft finance expert says the Kremlin’s new law on re-registering foreign-owned aircraft in Russia is like “taking an Irish citizen” and “forcing them to become a Russian citizen.” .

r Donal Hanley is an adjunct in the Faculty of Law at McGill University, and teaches aircraft financing law at the Institute of Aeronautics and Space Law, in Montreal.

Dr Hanley said he was “very concerned” about reports that the Kremlin had passed legislation that could prove it claimed ownership of Irish aircraft leased to Russia.

Various estimates put the number of foreign-owned aircraft operated by Russian airlines at around 500 or more, and the majority of them were within Russia when the war began on October 1. February 24.

The company most affected by the war is Dublin-based AerCap, with 152 planes worth nearly $2.4 billion flying, parked or stored in Russia or Ukraine, according to aviation consultant IBA.

Dr Hanley said that if the Kremlin tried to take ownership of up to $10 billion worth of aircraft, it would be a “violation of Russia’s treaty obligations”.

Dr Hanley added that the obligation was “to protect the interests of financiers and aircraft”. And “most” of the planes are based in Ireland, he said.

Dr Hanley said if Russia announced that it would be violating an international treaty that makes it illegal to fly planes, and if they fly into foreign airspace, other countries could also be held responsible. juridical.

With this latest step towards Russia….

“In fact, those are the return principles of the civil aviation treaty as we know it, and that is a much more serious step.

“Under the Chicago convention, an aircraft can only be registered in one country at a time.

“So in order to legally put the plane on the Russian register, they would need the owner’s permission, which they don’t have.

“But second, they need the existing registration status of Ireland or Bermuda to get the plane off their register.

“Ireland and Bermuda are under no obligation to do that. It is, in fact, a matter of Irish sovereignty and British sovereignty over Bermuda because, for the purposes of the Chicago conference, an aircraft has the nationality of the state where it is registered.

“Speak in an understandable way. This would be the equivalent of a plane carrying an Irish citizen in Russia, and forcing them to become a Russian citizen…”

Dr Hanley said the effect on companies in Ireland is that if Russia refuses to release the plane soon, “those companies will have to claim under their insurance, which will be required to be brought forward. .”

Although he says he is “not an insurance professional”, “it is not clear to me that they will be able to successfully claim if they cannot claim for what is considered is the total, constructive loss of the aircraft as a result of actions by the Russian government, and they will then have to take that loss on their own books. “

If this happens, companies could see a drop in the value of the “$10 billion order.”

Dr Hanley said while this was “not necessarily fatal” for some companies, it could prove “much more severe” for other aircraft lessors with “intensity”. higher exposure.”

“Honestly, at the moment, we don’t see a way out,” he added. “Russia cannot do that legally and Ireland has revoked, as I understand it, the aircraft’s airworthiness certificate.”

However, it seems Russia is willing to break the protocols, he added. And this can lead to the plane being illegally flown “without those certificates”.

If Russia were to send planes into space by other countries, “these countries themselves would be in violation of the Chicago convention,” Dr. Hanley said.

“And Ireland and Bermuda, through the UK, will have the right, possibly even the obligation, to bring a complaint to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, in Montreal.” Aviation expert on Putin’s plan to steal plane: It’s like capturing Irish citizens and forcing them to become Russian citizens

Fry Electronics Team

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