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Case over leased aircraft stuck in Russia begins



The High Court has begun hearing a dispute around insurance claims worth more than €2 billion for aircraft stuck in Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

Irish-based lessors are suing dozens of insurers around the world after more than 400 planes were unable to leave Russia due to Western sanctions in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine that forced the termination of their leases.

The world’s number two and three lessors, SMBC and Avolon, as well as BOC Aviation, CDB Aviation, Nordic Aviation Capital and Carlyle Aviation Partners are pursuing their claims here in Ireland, where more than 60% of the world’s leased aircraft are owned or managed.

The case is being held in a special venue in Phoenix House in Dublin because no court in Ireland is large enough to accommodate the almost 200 lawyers involved daily.

An overflow flow has been set up outside the court room to accommodate more lawyers and media.

The world’s biggest aircraft lessor, Irish-based AerCap, is pursuing its insurance claims through London’s High Court.

Opening his case this morning Paul Gallagher SC, representing a number of the lessers, said “what happened following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia had the most catastrophic consequences for my clients”.

He said the Russian State made a quick decision to retain these planes of immense value, and the majority still remain in Russia, where they have been detained for more than two years.

Mr Gallagher accused the insurers defence for not paying out on the policies as being “inconsistent” and “bewildering”.

He said “what is remarkable is that the insurers who issued the policies can’t agree as to what they actually mean”.

The insurers are expected deny the “all risks” or “war risks” policies are engaged or that payouts are due.

The case continues before Ms Justice Eileen Roberts

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