LONDON – According to a report from Reuters, Aeroflot has purchased eight Airbus aircraft from foreign lessors, as the argument over nationalization continues.
As per data from March 2022, over 50% of foreign aircraft have been nationalized and placed on the Russian registry.
The Russian Government has said that they do not plan on returning over 400 of the leased jets, as tensions continue on the sanctions front.
Lessors Have Lost Out Majorly…
The purchase of these aircraft is definitely not a sign of a victory, given how low the figure is so far.
UTAir was another carrier that returned nine aircraft back in March, meaning that the number of aircraft recovered financially is only in the low double-digits.
The Reuters report didn’t specify exactly what sort of Airbus aircraft they were, but a report from nearly a week ago placed emphasis on Aeroflot resuming international flights.
Leasing companies so far have lost over $4.5bn worth of aircraft and have claimed either insurance reparations or have written the aircraft off.
AerCap was the first to make an announcement, after making a $3.5bn insurance claim around a month ago.
Air Lease Corporation then followed, making an $800m write-off over assets stuck in the country.
Lastly, Avolon then reported an impairment of $304m, which was based on 10 of their aircraft also being stuck, but have remained clear that they are still very liquid.
A Lot of In-Fighting Within The Aviation Sector…
There has been a lot of in-fighting within the aviation sector over the Ukraine Crisis and has intensified more in the last couple of weeks.
For example, Turkey effectively rolled out the red carpet for the Russian travel sector, allowing flights from Russian carriers into the likes of Istanbul, Antalya, and others.
Western alliances such as SkyTeam have placed a suspension on Aeroflot due to the crisis, with oneworld also following suit with S7 Airlines.
On the manufacturer front, Boeing has removed 141 Russian aircraft from its order book in response to sanctions, with Airbus’ CEO Guillaume Faury confirming that the planemaker will be moving away from Russian titanium.
Within the political sphere, the U.S Government revealed that Belarussian carrier Belavia have violated U.S export control laws on at least seven of their aircraft.
It also seems that the West has put as much pressure on global leaders as possible in regards to sanctions, with this potentially fizzling out in Asia.
For example, the Malaysian government is hoping to secure direct Moscow-Kuala Lumpur flights despite the ongoing conflict, which has caused a lot of questioning from the West.
It is clear that the purchase from Aeroflot represents more of a wider game of political hari-kari and chess.
The Russian government doesn’t of course want to lose its leverage and return every single aircraft back to the lessors, but maybe it is doing this as a way of maintaining some tiny form of peace.
With this in mind, it is overtly clear that the rest of the aircraft stuck in Russia will stay there, and the lessors will have to sit back and feel the pinch of this.
But for now, the lessors who are getting some form of money back can use the funds to minimize the losses, which is the best outcome given the situation.