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Experts Who Can Drive Repossession Services for an Aircraft

As a judgment creditor in England and Wales, you have the power to enforce your judgment and recover your money from the debtor. The debtor either can pay their debts when they receive a judgment and when the High Court Enforcement Officers attend their premises to collect the debt amount or if they declared themselves insolvent then the High Court Enforcement Officers have the right to enter their premises and seize their goods under Writ of Control issued by the High Court.

When it comes to repossessions of aviation services for over many years Shergroup has been entrusted with the seizure and disposal of aircraft in all shapes and sizes as part of its official duties as High Court enforcement professionals. Aircraft can become the focus of a court action when a debt is not paid, and the creditor needs to seize assets to either create enough leverage to compel payment or simply to sell the asset to raise the money due under the Court’s judgment.

Shergroup Enforcement Process

As High Court Enforcement specialists’ aircraft repossession is one of the specialist services that Shergroup offers to a niche worldwide market. With the experience of seizing aircraft from airports in the UK under the jurisdiction of the civil courts, Shergroup has a unique insight into how the repossession of aircraft can be carried out as a clear process with safety protocols at the heart of the operation.

From the minute we are contacted to the conclusion of any assignment, we follow stringent guidelines and procedures that put the elimination of our customer’s risk at the heart of everything we do.

Our Technical Expertise in Repossession of Aircrafts

Members of the Shergroup enforcement team, have been involved in the seizure of aircraft for most of their long careers in civil court enforcement. Their expertise is drawn in enforcing the orders and judgments of the High Court based out of London.

These judgments and orders are traditionally for non-payment of debts incurred in the delivery of services to the aircraft industry. They have included judgments for the non-payment of air traffic control fees, through to failure to pay for fuel and replacement parts.

Creditors have issued proceedings in the High Court in London and entered judgment against the aircraft owner for the outstanding sum. Where payment has not been forthcoming, then an option is to seize the aircraft and resell the asset to pay the debt. Often the very art of seizure, which is a complicated process concerning the aircraft asset, wilt prompt payment.

If payment is not made, then Shergroup can sell the aircraft either at auction or more usually through a private sale, to liquidate the value of the asset.

Developing World Class Protocols

Such is Shergroup’s expertise in seizing aircraft for non-payment of debts we are developing protocols with aviation authorities to improve the current liaison with UK authorities at all major British airports. This has only been possible due to Shergroup’s experience of working around the aircraft industry and understanding the risks and issues that need to be covered when taking an aircraft into custody.

From successful case studies. Shergroup has developed a protocol that is considered unique, and which involves a clear process for seizing the aircraft when it is on the ground, notifying the authorities, insurance of the asset, and whilst in the custody of the Shergroup team, arrangements for the safe parking and or storage of the aircraft whilst negotiations are carried out.

Shergroup has developed its network to include agents to handle the maintenance and storage of the aircraft and specialist valuers to agree on the value of the asset and the best market for sale.

Let’s take a look at one of the best aviation repossession case studies here|

Air Zimbabwe Case Study

In mid-December 2012 Shergroup seized a Boeing 767 belonging to state-owned Air Zimbabwe which owed almost E750,000 to a supplier specialising in aircraft spares, airliner maintenance, airworthiness checks and airport-based ground crew.

The creditors’ lawyers issued a High Court Writ to seize any of Air Zimbabwe’s assets located in England and Wales in an attempt to force payment of the debt. This Writ was given to Shergroup’s team of highly experienced enforcement officers to seize one of the airline’s planes when it landed at London’s Gatwick Airport.

The first two attempts made by Shergroup to seize the plane were unsuccessful. In the first instance, the planned flight to Gatwick had been cancelled after another plane had been seized in South Africa under similar circumstances. The second attempt was thwarted when the plane was forced to divert from its destination due to a lack of fuel.

On the third attempt, the seizure was achieved at 1.40 am. In carrying out the operation, the Shergroup team also arranged for security whilst the aircraft was grounded as well as providing a storage solution while the plane was grounded. Shergroup enforcement officers even had to investigate whether the seizure could escalate to a diplomatic incident and sought advice from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

After the passengers had disembarked from the plane, and their luggage was taken from the hold, a senior Shergroup team went through the procedure of formally seizing the aircraft by posting the necessary notices in the cockpit and removing key documentation.

The entire operation was completed in just over four hours. A meeting later that day followed between Shergroup, representatives of the airline and lawyers for the creditors to discuss payment – both to clear the debt and to pay the costs of seizure. The payment was eventually made in full, and passengers flew home on Christmas Day, two weeks after they had been due to fly out.

In those two weeks, Shergroup had been fully responsible for the upkeep and safety of the asset including arranging suitable insurance, arranging for the aircraft to be made airworthy and generally providing an in-depth all-round service to achieve a successful outcome for the client.

Watch this video where our Chief Shergroupie, Claire Sandbrook explains the complexity of how an aircraft is seized and the power of a High Court Writ of Control in such situations.

Summing -up

We recognise at Shergroup Enforcement that our clients can benefit from our assistance in a number of related areas connected to the repossession of aircraft. Apart from the repossession solution, we offer additional services like legal and security that are designed to keep costs under control and to deliver a complete end to end solution for the creditor in dealing with the aircraft asset.

Our team of legal experts is based in Essex, England, and has easy access to the High Court in London. This means we can attend hearings, file papers, register foreign judgments, and arrange for the paperwork to be sealed by the Action Department of the High Court.

We also have access to Counsel in London who have expertise in the seizure and sale of assets through the law of execution. Through our security division, we can offer a range of services to maintain security over valuable assets such as aircraft and related assets across the world.

If you find yourself faced with a need to seize an aircraft to pay a debt or to repossess the asset then contact our business solutions advisors for a no-obligation discussion.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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