Russia responsible for maintenance of crashed Airbus
2002 deal left Irish-registered craft under remit of lessee Kolavia’s aviation authorities
File picture of the crashed Airbus, which was covered by the 2002 agreement. Photograph: Reuters/Kim Philipp Piskol
Responsibility for monitoring the maintenance of the Irish-registered Airbus that crashed in Egypt on Saturday rested with the Russian authorities under an agreement negotiated by the Irish Aviation Authority in 2002.
In 2002, a delegation agreement between the Irish and Russian civil aviation authorities was signed which set out the responsibilities of both in relation to aircraft registered here but under the control of Russian operators.
While Ireland retained responsibility for regulatory oversight of areas covered by international “airworthiness of aircraft” regulations, the Russian authorities took on the role of “responsibility for the maintenance surveillance of leased aircraft”.
KolaviaThe Russian airlines and the aircraft covered by the agreement are registered with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and include Russian operator Kolavia – which uses the brand name Metrojet – and the crashed Airbus, whose registration number is EI-ETJ.
The Dublin company that has been reported as owning the aircraft, Wilmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd, is an Irish subsidiary of a US bank that holds legal title to aircraft on behalf of third parties.
It is a relatively small player in Ireland’s enormous aircraft leasing sector, which has about half of the world’s approximately 8,000 leased commercial jet aircraft on its books. Efforts to contact a representative of the company were not successful.
While Wilmington was providing services relating to the aircraft, it is understood the Airbus was in fact leased to Kolavia by the Amsterdam-headquartered aircraft leasing group Aercap. Aercap’s Shannon-based subsidiary, Aercap Ireland, was formerly the late Tony Ryan’s GPA Group Ltd, the company that established Ireland in the aircraft-leasing business.
It is not known if the aircraft that crashed in Egypt was owned by an Irish subsidiary of the Aercap group.
The latest accounts for Wilmington, which is owned by M&T Bank, show it made a profit of €1.2 million in 2013, on a turnover of slightly more than €3 million. The previous year it made a similarly large profit margin on a similar turnover.
Executive payrollDuring 2013 the company had one executive director, two non-executive directors, and seven support staff, who between them shared a payroll of €1.3 million.
Although the company’s filings in the Company Registration Office show that it has been party to more than 300 registered charges since it was incorporated in 2000, the associated aircraft do not appear on its books as assets.
“The company has entered into a number of trust agreements whereby it holds legal title to aircraft on behalf of third parties. The directors are satisfied that the company enjoys neither the risk nor rewards associated with ownership of these aircraft under the terms of those agreements. Accordingly, these aircraft, together with the rights and obligations associated with them, are not reflected in the financial statements.”
The registry of the Irish Aviation Authority shows that the crashed Airbus 321-231 was registered with Wilmington in March 2012 and was built in 1997. It has been reported that Kolavia, also known as Kogalymavia, is being investigated for two alleged breaches of maintenance regulations.