Lessors are lining up to launch legal action against dozens of insurance companies for a total of around USD6.5 billion as they try to pursue claims over losses linked to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Reuters news agency reported.

The lawsuits tend to be against syndicates of law firms and are related to hundreds of aircraft stuck in Russia since Moscow’s invasion on February 24. More than 400 Western-made and leased aircraft worth around USD10 billion have remained there since sanctions prompted President Vladimir Putin to sign a law enabling local carriers to move them to the Russian register.

According to the lessors, the mostly Airbus and Boeing aircraft are covered by insurance policies against war or theft. As ch-aviation reported earlier this month, Avolon lodged a claim at Ireland’s High Court against a syndicate of 15 insurers led by Lloyd’s of London.

However, the insurance companies have argued that the jets are not damaged and may yet return to their owners in the future.

Reuters listed eight claims that lessors have filed against insurers in Dublin, London, and the United States between June and November:

  • In June, AerCap brought a USD3.5 billion lawsuit in the UK capital against AIG and Lloyd’s over 141 aircraft and 29 aircraft engines it owns and leased to Russian airlines.
  • In August, Miami-based Aviator Capital filed a USD147 million claim in a court in Florida against Chubb, HDI Global, Hive Underwriters, and 12 Lloyd’s of London syndicates related to four commercial aircraft and three engines. According to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module, three Aviator jets are currently stored in Russia - two A320-200s and one A321-200 - all leased to Red Wings Airlines, while one B777-200(ER) is launched to Ukraine International Airlines and is stored at Kyiv Boryspil.
  • Last month, DAE Capital lodged a London lawsuit against 11 insurers, including AIG, Chubb, Lloyd’s, and Swiss Re, having already written off almost USD600 million because 19 of its aircraft are stuck in Russia.
  • In late October, Carlyle Aviation Partners filed a USD700 million claim in Florida against more than 30 insurance firms that refused to pay it for 23 of its lost aircraft.
  • At about the same time, Aircastle also sued more than 30 insurers, this time at the Supreme Court of the State of New York, due to nine of its jets and other equipment stranded in Russia for which it had booked USD252 million in impairment losses.
  • As mentioned above, Irish lessor Avolon, which is owned by China’s Bohai Leasing, launched litigation in early November against 15 insurance companies, having revealed details on April 30 of a USD304 million first-quarter impairment.
  • On November 3, Singapore-based BOC Aviation started legal action at Ireland’s High Court against 16 insurance companies including AIG, Chubb, Lloyd’s, and Swiss Re, having recognised an USD804 million asset write-down from its 17 jets in Russia. A court filing said it thought it unlikely to recover the aircraft “in the foreseeable future, if ever.”
  • And most recently, on November 15, China Development Bank-owned but Ireland-based CDB Aviation filed a claim at Ireland’s High Court against 18 insurance firms, having recognised a CNY747 million yuan (USD105 million) write-down that is not the full value of the aircraft.