Aircraft leasing firms claim €1.65bn over planes detained in Russia

ireland
Aircraft Leasing Firms Claim €1.65Bn Over Planes Detained In Russia Aircraft Leasing Firms Claim €1.65Bn Over Planes Detained In Russia
SMBC Aviation Capital Ltd, along with Global Aviation Ltd and Wilmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd are suing 11 international insurers for declining to cover losses under either "all risks" for "war risks" policies
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High Court reporters

Three Dublin-registered companies involved in international aircraft leasing have brought High Court proceedings against insurers' refusal to provide indemnity for the loss of some $1.75 billion (€1.65 billion) worth of airplanes detained in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

SMBC Aviation Capital Ltd, along with Global Aviation Ltd and Wilmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd are suing 11 international insurers for declining to cover losses under either "all risks" for "war risks" policies.

The insurers include Lloyds, Swiss Re International SE, Chubb European Group SE, Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers (Europe) SAS and AIG Europe SA.

The firms say the aircraft have an aggregate value of $1.75 billion and, under the war risks policy, there is a liability limit of $1 billion.

They say when the Russians invaded Ukraine on February 24th last, the aircraft were subject to aircraft lease agreements between one or other of the three firms and Russian airlines.

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Following the imposition of EU sanctions on Russia, the firms sought the return of the aircraft, but it has not been possible to recover them.

When they called on the insurers to confirm cover for the aircraft, the defendants declined to do so, they claim. Lloyds, in its capacity as the "war risks" insurer, said it would not confirm indemnity at that time and said it needed additional time to consider coverage.

However, Catherine Ennis, chief legal officer and secretary of SMBC Aviation Capital, said in an affidavit the plaintiffs were not prepared to afford additional time in circumstances where cover has been declined for similar claims and litigation has been necessary both here and in other jurisdictions.

In an application to have the case admitted to the High Court's fast track commercial list on Monday, Ms Ennis also said it was in the interest of all parties that the court determine quickly the meaning and effect of the war risks and all risks policies.

The firms are seeking orders and declarations including that the war risk insurers pay $1bn under the policy and that the all-risk insurers pay €1.75 billion.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald admitted the case to the Commercial Court, on consent between the parties, and said it could come back later this month when similar applications will be made by other aircraft leasing firms to have their cases dealt with in the fast track list.

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Those cases are by Avolon Aerospace (Hamilton) AOE 1 and associated companies and BOC Aviation (Ireland) and associated companies.

Two other similar cases have also been brought by CDB Aviation Lease Finance DAC and associated companies and JetAir 1 Ltd and associated companies.

Four other similar cases are being brought in England and Wales and the USA.

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