Aircraft owners are trying to find hundreds of Airbus and Boeing jets that Russian carriers have stashed under their skirts (to stop them being seized) behind what has been called “a new incarnation of the Iron Curtain.”
An industry insider told Bloomberg that foreign leasing firms have repossessed only about 24 of the more than 500 aircraft rented to Russian carriers. The remaining planes are reportedly worth about $10.3 billion USD ($14.1 billion AUD).
Steve Giordano, managing director of Nomadic Aviation Group, a company specializing in aircraft repossessions, told Bloomberg that, in the worst-case, “these aeroplanes are gone forever.”
Reuters reported today that the foreign leasing firms “have received mostly radio silence as experts warn of legal wrangling that could last a decade.”
Most leasing firms have until the 28th of March to cut ties with Russian airlines, due to Western bans in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. This has sparked a game of what Reuters calls “cat and mouse” all over the world as lenders desperately try to seize their aircraft back.
“Leasing companies are terminating leases and asking for planes to be returned along with the paperwork that must be secured for planes to be placed with new airlines,” Reuters reports.
But Russian airlines are reportedly not yet complying.
Simple Flying reports that a source at Aeroflot told website FrequentFlyers.ru that the Russian government might not even be able to “buy out” the airline’s leased jets because of financial sanctions. “As a result,” Simple Flying reports, “it has been suggested that aircraft would be nationalized without any compensation to aircraft owners.”
The economic and industry implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continue to spread far and wide around the world – just recently we reported on how the war is impacting the bottom line of carriers like Finnair and oil and other energy prices have shot up since the invasion.