The Air Lease Corporation has written off 27 planes currently trapped in Russia. The total value of the aircraft is over $800 million.
ALC writes off lost planes
The Air Lease Corporation (ALC) announced in a stock exchange filing that they would be writing off the remainder of their planes still trapped in Russia. The lessor currently has 27 planes in the embargoed state, with a combined value of $802 million. 21 of the aircraft are owned by the ALC, and 6 are managed.
Over 500 foreign leased planes were “nationalised” by Russia last month in what has been dubbed “the biggest aero plane heist in history”. Lessors are coming to terms with the fact that their planes may be gone for good. The ALC is not confident it will see the return of its leased aircraft any time soon:
“The Company has determined that it is unlikely that the Company will regain possession of the aircraft that have not been returned and that remain in Russia”
Spoken at their SEC filing, adding that they are “vigorously pursuing insurance claims to recover losses relating to these aircraft”.
Things could be worse, though. Aircraft leasing giant AerCap filed a $3.5 billion insurance claim last month in relation to its 135 planes stranded in Russia. However, whether the insurers will pay out remains unclear.
How did the planes get stranded?
Following the war in Ukraine, Europe and the US imposed trade sanctions on Russia, terminating all aircraft-leasing contracts. Lessors, like ALC, were given 30 days to tie up their accounts and recover their leased aircraft. However, this was no easy task, as the sanctions also prohibited Russian airlines from flying to the countries where lessors were based. The only option was to try and repossess planes in “neutral” countries, which weren’t affected by the airspace bans. Some lessors were partially successful, with AerCap managing to retrieve 22 of its fleet, but most were unable to make significant seizures as Russia kept the leased planes close to its chest.
Putin later signed a law that would “nationalise” all leased planes, relisting them as Russian aircraft. The message was clear: these planes are ours now. According to data by consultancy firm IBA around 360 aircraft have been reregistered so far. A big hit for lessors, who are currently fighting insurers for a payout.