Quebec court orders release of embattled Bombardier planes

A Quebec court has ordered the release of two aircraft to Iraqi Airways Co. in its long-running legal battle with Kuwait Airways Corp.

The dispute traces back to 1990 following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait wherein the Iraqi government ordered IAC to seize KAC’s aircraft. KAC is pursuing compensation from IAC over the seizure.

The aircraft, built by Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace for IAC, have been released to the Iraqi company against security provided to KAC, which won judgments for $1.2 billion from IAC and $80 million from the state of Iraq.

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling in October last year allowed for KAC to seize the aircraft as it sought enforcement of the $1.2-billion judgment.

It is the longest-running commercial case in the United Kingdom. Numerous findings of perjury against IAC have contributed to the lengthy case, which then led to 12 years of prior rulings being overthrown.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP partner Christopher Gooding, who is also a member of the firm’s aviation practice group, has represented KAC since 1990.

“Our clients’ position is secured fully — effectively Iraq has paid for these aircraft twice, once to Bombardier and again in security for KAC,” Gooding said in a press release. “As we have always said that there is no intention, subject to enforcement of judgment rights, to limit the growth of Iraqi Airways or in any way limit the ability of the Iraqi people to travel freely. KAC will continue to pursue compensation whenever opportunities arise.”

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