Aeroflot flight grounded at BIA on Court Order

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An Aeroflot flight heading for Moscow was grounded yesterday (2), after the head of the air traffic control, at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), received a Court Order prohibiting the jet from taking off.

According to inside sources, the passengers onboard the plane, which is owned by the Russian Government, disembarked.

The BIA and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials are holding discussions with the Attorney General’s Department, Ceylon Today learns.

The Russian Embassy did not want to comment on the issue. Also, neither the CAA nor BIA officials were contactable.   

It is speculated that a commercial dispute with the aircraft leasing company had restrained the plane from taking off.    

Russian State owned Aeroflot Airlines recommenced flight operations to Colombo from Moscow with a flight frequency of two flights a week between Moscow and Colombo from 21 November 2021.

According to information, leasing companies have obtained Court orders to seize any planes leased to Russia in all countries as many leasing agreements had been cancelled and Russia doesn’t want to return planes; technically ‘stealing’ all airplanes.

Bloomberg recently reported that aircraft owners are coming to grips with the loss of hundreds of Airbus SE (European multinational Aerospace Corporation) and Boeing Company jets that Russian carriers have effectively shielded from seizure behind a new incarnation of the ‘Iron Curtain’.

With the window just about closed, foreign leasing firms have succeeded in repossessing only about two dozen of the more than 500 aircraft rented to Russian carriers, according to Dean Gerber, general counsel for Valkyrie BTO Aviation. The planes in limbo have a market value of about USD 10.3 billion, aviation analytics firm Ishka estimates.

Technically, leasers have until 28 March to cancel contracts under European Union sanctions. But State-owned Aeroflot PJSC and other Russian airlines have already gathered the vast bulk of the planes back inside the country, out of reach of their owners. The Government aided the effort by instructing carriers to stop flying internationally and return jets to Russia by Tuesday (31 May). 

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan