Flair launches $50-million lawsuit against leasing companies following plane seizures

TORONTO — Flair Airlines has filed a $50-million lawsuit against several plane-leasing companies over what it claims were unlawful seizures of four of its aircraft over the weekend.

The filings in Ontario Superior Court state that a trio of leasing companies found a better deal for the planes with a third party and then set Flair up for default.

Flair claims in the court document that is an unlawful termination of leases.

The statement of claim says the lessors dispatched agents to three Canadian airports to seize the four Boeing 737 Maxes "in the middle of the night as passengers were boarding planes for spring break vacations."

Flair also claims the lessors — Columba Lights Aviation Ltd., Corvus Lights Aviation Ltd., and MAM Aircraft Leasing 4, all based in Ireland — carried out the allegedly "malicious" seizures despite having made no objection to an arrangement put forward by Flair that would see it initiate payment early this week.

Claiming substantial damages, Flair further says leasing management company Airborne Capital Inc. "misled" the carrier and that another Dublin-based company agreed to a deal to buy or lease the aircraft, leading Flair to claim of breach of contract and "conspiracy."

The suit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice mark the latest blow in a back-and-forth between the discount carrier and its lessors, with Airborne Capital stating Tuesday that Flair routinely missed payments over the past five months, resulting in the plane seizures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2023.

The Canadian Press