Lessors Seek Maintenance Compromise On Recovered Aircraft

Roughly 40 out of 500 aircraft leased to Russian airlines have been recovered since the start of the Ukraine conflict.
Credit: Russian Look Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

Aircraft lessors are exploring their options for putting aircraft recovered from Russia back into service without full overhauls.

Roughly 40 out of 500 aircraft leased to Russian airlines have been recovered since the start of the Ukraine conflict, but most of these do not have full maintenance records.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the chairman of trade body Aircraft Leasing Ireland, Declan Kelly, said that aviation authorities should accept that all the recovered aircraft were operating safely on 27 February, the day after the European Union imposed its first sanctions on Russian aviation.

“While some maintenance is to be done and there will be additional costs, you don’t want to tear the aircraft apart,” Kelly told the FT.
In recent quarterly results, Western lessors have detailed their Russia-related exposures and write-downs.

Another U.S. lessor, Air Lease, will write off around $800 million of its interests in Russia, specifically 21 owned and six managed aircraft.
Dublin-based Avolon said 10 of its owned aircraft were in Russia as of 31 March, adding that these accounted for less than 1% of its net portfolio value.

Far more exposed is the world’s largest lessor Aercap, which said at the end of March that it had 135 aircraft and 14 engines remaining in Russia after recovering 22 aircraft and three engines.
It is claiming $3.5 billion from its insurers relating to the aircraft and engines remaining in Russia.

“The net carrying value – defined as the net book value of flight equipment, maintenance right assets, on balance sheet maintenance reserves and other related asset liabilities - of those assets in Aercap balance sheet was $3.1 billion,” said Aercap’s chief financial officer, Peter Juhas. 

“We continue to make an effort to repossess aircraft and engines from Russia, but it is uncertain whether we will be successful in these efforts,” he added.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.