AirBridgeCargo, a subsidiary of Volga, operates three Boeing 747-8s owned by BOC Aviation.
Volga-Dnepr Logistics was ordered by US District Judge Lewis Liman in Manhattan to pay $406.2 million to aircraft lessor BOC Aviation. The Russian cargo airline was found accountable after being declared in default on leases for three Boeing 747-8 freighters operated by one of its subsidiaries, AirBridgeCargo, during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
A millionaire’s payment
According to Reuters, a US judge ordered AirBridgeCargo Airlines and its parent company Volga-Dnepr Logistics responsible after BOC Aviation was unable to repossess its three widebody planes. According to BOC Aviation, AirBridgeCargo went into default after failing to maintain the required reinsurance coverage. Since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine last year, lessors have been trapped with hundreds of aircraft in Russia.
Judge Lewis Liman stated that BOC Aviation had shown that the Russian government had “effected a seizure” of the planes and engines by preventing them from being flown and operated outside of Russia. Furthermore, he disregarded AirBridgeCargo’s arguments that neither side could have predicted a default. It was impossible to ground the planes outside of Russia because the country had ordered them to be flown back.
AirBridgeCargo has a fleet of 16 Boeing widebody aircraft, according to ch-aviation data. It possesses three 747-400ERFs, twelve B747-8Fs, and one 777-200F. According to ch-aviation, one of BOC Aviation’s 747s stuck with AirBridgeCargo bears the registration number VQ-BFU. This plane is approximately eight years old. It was delivered in November of 2015.
AerCap, the world’s largest leasing corporation, is suing insurers such as AIG and Lloyd’s Insurance corporation for $3.5 billion in connection with the loss of 116 aircraft and 23 engines. Furthermore, according to Reuters, it is claiming $1.2 billion under its war-risks insurance.
Over 400 planes are stranded in Russia.
It was revealed last week that over 400 airplanes valued nearly $10 billion are still detained in Russia. Leasing businesses are suing insurance for stalled jets. However, insurers are seeking for ways to avoid paying. They claim that the planes have not yet been physically lost, that the jets and engines are no longer subject to a leasing arrangement, and that Western sanctions prevent them from providing cover. On Monday, AerCap’s lawyer, Mark Howard, stated that it was unfathomable that they could not recoup some losses from insurance.
Other lessors suing insurers include Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), Merx Aviation, KDAC Aviation Finance, and Falcon. DAE and Falcon, for example, lost approximately 21 aircraft and equipment valued at $900 million. Merx Aviation is suing for almost $255 million for the loss of six aircraft and their engines, while KDAC is suing for $21.5 million for the loss of one jet.
AirBridgeCargo will resume operations soon.
As previously reported, AirBridgeCargo expects to resume operations soon. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, the firm ceased all flights. Nonetheless, AirBridgeCargo will not be using its previous fleet. Instead, the airline will fly an Ilyushin Il-96 with the registration RA-96103. Prior to the invasion, AirBridgeCargo controlled more than 40% of the Russian air freight market.