SLM ignores English judgment to meet payment obligation to US leasing company

AELF is doing everything it can to recover debts of over US $ 4 million plus costs and interest from SLM

The US leasing company Aircraft Engine Lease Finance, Inc., based in Chicago, will do everything it can to ensure that the Surinamese Luchtvaart Maatschappij (SLM, Surinam Airways) complies with a ruling by the English Commercial Court to pay the company in Chicago a late payment, amounting to US $ 4,294,073.40 – plus costs (more than £ 80,000) and interest – to be paid.

SLM had leased aircraft from this leasing company, but since 2020 it has no longer fulfilled the payment obligations agreed in a settlement agreement. The company announces this exclusively to the editorial staff of Dagblad Surinam.

“Suriname Airways failed to comply with an order from the English Commercial Court ordering the leasing company to pay many millions of dollars by July 6, 2022,” the US leasing company told Dagblad Surinam.

SLM does not comply with the agreement despite the postponement of payment

SLM had an Airbus A340 in use by the US leasing company between 2015 and 2020. Due to tensions in the aviation sector at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, AELF allowed SLM to postpone the start of payments by six months and pay the debt over a period of 41 months. Even with these considerations, SLM did not comply with the agreement, after which AELF brought an action for breach of contract.

“It is now the task of AELF to seek to enforce the judgment by all appropriate means and in any jurisdiction in which SLM operates or has assets,” the leasing company said.

Settlement agreement not complied with by SLM

This case stems from a settlement agreement entered into in June 2020, after which Surinam Airways agreed to pay AELF $ 4,125,000.00. SLM requested – and AELF accepted – that payments begin in December 2020, giving SLM a six-month “holiday” in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

However, SLM could not pay on time.

AELF subsequently brought an action for breach of contract to the Commercial Court of England.

In response to the AELF’s claim, SLM made a highly technical argument that the airline was not properly serviced under the UK State Immunity Act, as the airline is “a sovereign state” according to the airline.

AELF states in its letter to Dagblad Surinam in response to this argument from SLM:

“First, even if the airline were a state, it would have no immunity from commercial activities. Second, the air lease agreement that this dispute arises expressly waives sovereign immunity. Third, SLM’s own evidence – a testimony of its legal chief – it is clear that SLM is a separate entity from the state.Firth, even though SLM was a state and had to be operated in a certain way, the airline gave consent for the process to be served by a bailiff in Suriname. “Nevertheless, SLM’s argument led to two hearings, in both of which SLM’s arguments were rejected. SLM then requested leave to appeal, but it was rejected.”

SLM not present at the hearing in the summary case

On 22 June 2022, a hearing was held on AELF’s request in Kort Geding. SLM did not present evidence and was not present during the hearing.

AELF was awarded the full amount of its claim plus interest and costs, all of which should be paid by July 6, 2022.

‘However, no payment has been received. AELF takes SLM’s breach of its contractual obligations and these delaying tactics seriously: it has previously initiated an asset freeze case against SLM in Suriname and will now take steps to ensure payment of this judgment in any jurisdiction in which SLM has assets. , “told the American leasing company. Dagblad Surinam.

SLM does not share “company sensitive and financial information”

Dagblad Surinam has, of course, approached SLM chief Paul de Haan about the above, but he referred the editorial staff to his Corporate Communications department. During Sunday afternoon, the editors received this response from the said department:

“As you know, SLM is currently in the restart phase of the operation to be able to start flights to and from Amsterdam next Wednesday. That is our priority at the moment. We understand that you want to inform the community as completely as possible. Your questions However, in its efforts to optimize the service, the management, board and staff of SLM do everything they can to regain the trust of the community and to carry out the operation so “We will not ignore your role in this endeavor and will therefore inform you as completely as possible as soon as possible.”

SKM floats on its passengers

SLM’s survival stands and falls on a solid economic footing. It is the lifeblood of the airline, still a state-owned company and therefore dependent on people’s money. And that is that people who want to be informed about things like how SLM is still able to rent a unit today. It is the people, it is the citizens who are wondering where the money is coming from. These citizens have a right to transparency, especially when it comes to this financial information. Also, do not let SLM forget that it is mainly its customers, the travelers and thus the citizens, who supply the company with the ‘flying wings’ in the first place.

(Click here for more information on the AELF – SLM trial.)

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