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Finance companies that buy and lease out airliners have a problem: Planes they own that are collectively worth billions of dollars are trapped in Russia.

Still, the risk of major losses for investors is relatively small, a new Moody's analysis finds.

The airliners, leased to Russian airlines and stuck there since Russia's ties with the West dissolved this year, are only a small portion of global leasing fleets: less than 10%, for the companies Moody's tracks.

Plus, insurance contracts should help the aircraft lessors—companies such as AerCap Holdings and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise—eventually recover some of the value of their lost planes. Claims could reach around $11 billion, per Moody's.

That could take time. But meanwhile, lessors may be able to sell the rights to their insurance claims to other investors. That would help the leasing companies sooner fund purchases of more planes, which they could lease out to other airlines to make up for some of the lost leasing revenue from the Russian airlines.

Other tailwinds are helping minimize the pain from the Russian freeze-out. Coming out of the pandemic, global travel demand is strengthening again. Meanwhile, Airbus and Boeing have been slow to deliver new jetliners, boosting the going rate for the planes in the leasing companies' fleets.

Excerpt from WSJ
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