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Irish aircraft leasing firm AerCap has filed a $3.5bn insurance claim for its aircraft and engines stuck in Russia after the invasion on Ukraine, media reports said. 

In response to the Western sanctions against Russia, President Vladimir Putin amended laws to allow Russian airlines to register foreign jets in the country. 

As of 31 December 2021, nearly 5% of AerCap’s fleet by net book value was on lease to Russian airlines, making it the most exposed lessor to the country. 

“Last week we submitted an insurance claim for approximately $3.5bn with respect to our aircraft and engines remaining in Russia. In this case, we expect them to be contested, just given the large sums involved across the industry,” AerCap CFO Peter Juhas was quoted by Reuters as saying. 

Notably, the aircraft leasing firms had until 28 March to recover their planes and cancel contracts as per the sanctions imposed by the European Union. 

AerCap, whose claim is one of the largest single insurance claims ever made, has terminated the leasing of all its aircraft and engines with Russian airlines. 

Ever since the war began, insurance companies have been bracing for unprecedented claims from aircraft leasing firms trying to recover assets from Russia. 

Some estimates suggest that the war could lead to the aviation insurance industry taking a hit of up to $10bn. 

The Dublin-based lessor had 135 aircraft and 14 engines rented to Russian customers and was able to recover 22 aircraft and three engines.

AerCap said it trying to get back aircraft and engines, but it is not clear if it will be able to recover those assets or in what condition they will be recovered.