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CDB Aviation latest lessor to take insurers to court

Illustration shows CDB Aviation logo displayed in front of the model of an airplane and a Russian flag

DUBLIN (Reuters) - CDB Aviation became the latest aircraft lessor to start legal action in pursuit of claims against a large number of insurers over jets it owns that are stuck in Russia, an Irish High Court filing showed.

The Irish-based lessor, owned by the China Development Bank (CDB), China's largest policy bank, still has nine aircraft in Russia after Moscow blocked some 400 jets from leaving following Western sanctions over its February invasion of Ukraine.

The 18 insurers named in the proceedings, which the filing shows was issued on Nov. 15, include Lloyd's of London Ltd, Chubb Ltd, Swiss Re AG and Great Lakes Insurance, a subsidiary of Munich Re.

The filing did not include details on the size of the claim by CDB, which had a total portfolio of 384 aircraft at the end of June.

The proceedings are the third to be initiated in the Irish courts following filings by major lessors Avolon and BOC Aviation Ltd.

Dublin-based AerCap Holdings NV, the world's biggest aircraft lessor, in June filed a $3.5 billion lawsuit at London's High Court over its insurance claim for more than 100 seized planes, the largest claim by any lessor related to the conflict.

CDB Aviation recognised an 747 million yuan ($105.4 million) asset write-down in August but unlike most other lessors, it did not write down the full value of its Russian jets as it saw a "high probability" of repossessing them in the foreseeable future.

It said at the time that it was still actively communicating with Russian airlines to find effective ways to repossess the aircraft but that in a worse case scenario it may need to fully write down their value if it cannot get them back.

($1 = 7.0849 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Stephen Coates)