Irish aircraft lessors among a group pursuing €15 billion worth of insurance claims for planes leased to Russian airlines are due in a London court on Friday.
Aercap, Avolon, Carlyle, SMBC Aviation Capital and several other lessors are suing insurers including AIG, Allianz, AXA, Liberty and Lloyds for an estimated £13 billion (€15 billion) for aircraft stranded in Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The sides are due in a London court on Friday for a case management conference - a routine part of complex litigation - in advance of what will be a key ruling next February on the insurers’ argument that Russian courts should try the case.
This argument is based on the fact that the airlines that leased the aircraft insured them with Russian companies, which then reinsured them in London.
Both the insurance and reinsurance contracts also cover the lessors, the aircrafts’ owners, so they opted to pursue claims under those policies through the British courts.
Lessors have dismissed the insurers’ claim that the case should be heard in Russia as a cynical ploy to avoid paying out on the policies.
The lessors can only proceed with their cases against the insurers if the court rules in their favour on the jurisdiction question.
The court grouped 40 claims by 10 companies into one case. Insurers’ refusal to pay out on aircraft stranded by the war sparked the litigation.
None of the lessors, including the Irish companies, have commented on the case, beyond saying that they believed they had valid claims under the insurance policies.