Talks continue to free impounded Aeroflot A330 in Colombo
Russia’s air transport regulator is still trying to resolve a dispute which has left an Aeroflot Airbus A330-300 impounded in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan foreign affairs ministry says the twinjet – which arrived from Moscow and was due to depart Colombo’s Bandaranaike on 2 June – was prevented from leaving by a commercial high court.
It says the matter relates to a “commercial dispute” between Irish leasing vehicle Celestial Aviation Trading 10 and the Russian flag-carrier.
This dispute also involves a second defendant, the ministry says, the acting head of Sri Lanka’s airport and air navigation service.
The aircraft carried the Bermuda registration VQ-BMY before the Russian government re-registered the jet as RA-73702 in response to sanctions over the Ukrainian conflict.
Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, it was originally delivered to the airline in 2012 and was owned by GECAS, before being absorbed by AerCap through the two companies’ merger.
Russian air transport regulator Rosaviatsia says it is “working to resolve” the issue with Sri Lanka, pointing out that the two governments have “long-term friendly and constructive relations”.
It says it is seeking the aircraft’s release from detention for departure to Russia, with a Russian crew, as soon as possible.
Passengers who had been booked on the return flight, SU289, to Moscow Sheremetyevo, have been accommodated in hotels.
AerCap had recently disclosed that it had 113 aircraft on lease to Russian operators that it was unable to retrieve, and that it was taking a $2.7 billion impairment charge on the assets.