The Sri Lankan Commercial High Court dismissed a claim filed by Celestial Aviation Trading Limited, a special purpose vehicle of AerCap, against Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) in relation to the lessor's attempt to repossess an A330-300 at Colombo Int'l airport in early June 2022.

Justice Sumith Perera agreed with the Russian carrier and the Sri Lankan Civil Aviation Authority that once the aircraft left the island, Sri Lankan courts no longer had jurisdiction over the matter. As such, the High Court was not able to grant a permanent injunction and the repossession of the aircraft, as sought by the lessor. The court dismissed a counterclaim for compensation filed by Aeroflot on exactly the same grounds. The judge underlined that the court had jurisdiction to issue an interim order and seize the aircraft once it was at Colombo airport but could not rule over the case once the A330 had left.

Celestial Aviation filed for an interim injunction on June 2, seeking to seize RA-73702 (msn 1301) - formerly VQ-BMY - at the Sri Lankan gateway. The lessor argued that the aircraft was illegally operated by the Russian carrier following the termination of all lease obligations resulting from the sanctions imposed on Russia in late February after its invasion of Ukraine. Following intense diplomatic pressure and an appeal filed by the Attorney General, the court overturned the interim injunction on June 6, allowing the jet to depart.

In response to the lessor's claim, Aeroflot filed its own counterclaim for compensation for the aircraft's grounding.

Aeroflot has not been operating its route from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Colombo since June 4, 2022. In early July, the airline reportedly sought explicit assurances from the Sri Lankan authorities that no further attempted seizures would take place. The island has been marred by extreme political and economic turmoil and is in desperate need of hard currency as well as petroleum products.

Sri Lanka is not a party to the Cape Town Convention.