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Lessor Receives $710 Million Payout Over Aeroflot Aircraft Leases


  • Aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital settles for $710 million with Russian insurer NSK for leased planes and engines to Aeroflot in compliance with sanctions.
  • Repossession of leased aircraft by Russian airlines has remained difficult since the invasion of Ukraine and widespread sanctions.
  • Irish lessor AerCap also reached an insurance agreement worth $645 million with Russia to settle aircraft and engines on loan to Aeroflot and Rossiya.

Aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital has advised that it has settled with the Russian state-owned insurer NSK for $710 million for the sixteen aircraft and additional engines leased to Aeroflot.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, lessors have found it challenging to repossess aircraft from Russia. Given widespread sanctions, Aeroflot, among other Russian carriers, have resorted to cannibalizing their own fleet for parts, much to the lessor’s horror. This is where insurers have stepped in.

For SMBC, the payout covered its aircraft and engines on lease to Aeroflot Group and stressed that the cash payment complied with the laws and sanctions against the Russian state. While $710mn is likely much lower than the value of the 16 aircraft, it is better than a multi-billion dollar financial impairment it would have to take before a settlement.

Aeroflot A320

Photo: Media_works/Shutterstock

Second recent claim

Irish lessor AerCap also recently reached an insurance agreement with Russia last month over the settlement of 17 aircraft and five leased engines on loan to Aeroflot and Rossiya; the value of this payout was expected to reach around $645 million. It’s been over 18 months since the invasion, and the EU ordered all aircraft leases canceled, meaning lessors have been busy negotiating with insurance providers and even going to court at times to enforce contracts.

A fleet of Russia's Aeroflot aircraft parked at an airport

Photo: Media Works/Shutterstock

SMBC Aviation Capital is one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, headquartered in Dublin and owned by the Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

A big fleet

Given passengers at the airport are usually unsure if their aircraft is owned or leased by their operating carrier, it can be eye-watering to read how many SMBCs and other lessors own. It is estimated that over 40% of all aircraft are owned by lessors, which identifies just the market scale.

Looking at data retrieved from ch-aviation, the lessor maintains a robust fleet of a wide range of aircraft. This includes over 300 A320 family jets, 14 A350s, 174 Boeing 737s, and 11 787-8/9s. This is separate from aircraft and is also managed by the lessor. In general, the average age of SMBC’s fleet is 6.8 years.

Sunrise at Busy KSEA With Alaska Airlines 737-800 Pulling Back

Photo: Joe Kunzler | Simple Flying

This is all shadowed by the world’s largest lessor, AerCap, also based in Ireland, sitting at approximately 1,800 owned aircraft, an additional 900 owned and managed engines, and many more on order with manufacturers. Not only does it deal with aircraft, but through its subsidiary, Milestone Aviation Group, you can add in another 355 helicopters.

Sources: ch-aviation

  • Aeroflot Tile


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Sergei Alexandrovsky




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