Aeroflot buys eight stranded Airbuses from foreign leasing companies

The logo of Russian state airline Aeroflot is seen on top of a building in central Moscow, Russia April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

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LONDON, May 13 (Reuters) – Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), said on Friday it had purchased eight Airbus A330s from foreign leasing companies “in fulfillment of contractual obligations”.

More than 400 planes leased to Western companies, worth nearly $10 billion, have been stuck in Russia since Western sanctions forced lessors to terminate their contracts and Russia banned its airlines from return the planes. Read more

Aeroflot did not specify which companies the aircraft was leased to. But the purchase could be an attempt to maintain good relations with lessors by using an exemption from European Union sanctions against Russia on aircraft leasing – which involves buying at the end of the lease. .

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To ensure that they can continue to have valid airworthiness certificates and that Russian airlines can continue to use them, Russian authorities transferred the aircraft to Russia’s own registry.

Meanwhile, leasing companies resigned themselves to lengthy insurance claims in an attempt to recover some of the aircraft’s lost value. Read more

The largest claim was made by Dublin-based AerCap (AER.N), the world’s largest aircraft lessor, which submitted a $3.5 billion insurance claim for more than 100 jets .

AerCap did not immediately respond to calls from Reuters seeking comment.

EU regulations governing sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine generally prohibit “the award and continued performance of public contracts and concessions with Russian nationals and entities or bodies established in Russia “. Aeroflot is majority owned by the Russian state.

But one of the derogations enacted on April 8 states that EU national authorities may authorize “the execution of an aircraft lease concluded before February 26, 2022”, as long as it is “strictly necessary to ensure rental refunds” and no payment is made beyond the transfer of the aircraft.

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Reuters reporting; Written by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Louise Heavens and Angus MacSwan

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