Legal woes continue for Russia’s Polet Airlines, which has been ordered to return at least one of its two remaining An-124 freighters after losing a long-running court battle with the aircraft’s lessor Ilyushin Finance Corp (IFC).
One of IFC’s owners, Alexander Lebedev, took Polet to court in February, claiming that Polet owed IFC US$9 million in back lease payments. As the court hearings progressed, Polet’s two IFC-leased An-124-100s were seized and grounded; one was permitted to fly again briefly this spring, but has since been grounded once more.
Polet, based in Russia’s Voronezh region, is facing several other lawsuits from creditors and is scheduled to undergo bankruptcy hearings in October. Anatoly Karpov, general director of Polet, told the Russian media that he will continue to challenge the verdict and attempt to settle with IFC out of court.