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Aircraft lessors set for June 2024 trial over Russia insurance claims

DUBLIN, July 31 (Reuters) - Some of the world's largest aircraft lessors and insurers are aiming to be ready to go to trial in June 2024 over contested insurance claims for aircraft stuck in Russia, a lawyer for one of the lessors said on Monday.

Lessors are suing dozens of insurers around the world for billions of dollars after more than 400 planes were unable to leave Russia due to Western sanctions in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine that forced the termination of their leases.

The world's number two and three lessors, SMBC and Avolon, as well as BOC Aviation, CDB Aviation, Nordic Aviation Capital and Carlyle Aviation Partners are pursuing their claims in Ireland, where more than 60% of the world's leased aircraft are owned or managed.

Kelley Smith, a lawyer for Avolon, told a hearing on Monday that all parties involved were aiming for a trial date of June 4 next year, with a number of procedural steps to be completed before then.

Those steps include finding a venue large enough for the 180 attendees Smith said were expected at the trial each day. Justice Denis McDonald told a packed hearing last month that no court in Ireland was large enough to hear the case.

The world's biggest aircraft lessor, Irish-based AerCap , is pursuing its insurance claims through London's High Court.

AerCap's Chief Financial Officer said on Monday that it continued to have discussions with Russian insurers on a potential settlement regarding some of its aircraft stranded in Russia.

"Given the sensitive nature of those discussions and the uncertainty regarding any potential recovery, we're not going to comment further on any of that," Peter Juhas told an analyst call. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin Editing by Mark Potter)