A risky business: the aircraft lessor, its missing Russian planes and the $3.5bn insurance battle

A large portion of the 515 leased aircraft operating in Russia are owned by Irish leasing companies, but many have been re-registered there. One company, AerCap, has filed a $3.5 billion lawsuit against two groups of insurers for the loss of its planes, and more cases are expected to follow

An Aeroflot Boeing 777-300ER at Los Angeles International Airport: for lessors, the loss of planes will likely involve a battle with insurers, who deny liability. Picture: Getty

“For the minute, we are where we are,” is how Aengus Kelly, the chief executive of AerCap, describes the situation his company has found itself in.

Kelly, the head of the world’s biggest aircraft lessor, spoke in blunt terms earlier this month about the 116 planes and 23 spare aircraft engines which AerCap has not recovered since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Following the invasion, the EU imposed sanctions on February ...