The high court of justice, business and property courts of England and Wales commercial court have ruled that Azman Air Services Limited pay $22 million for breach of contract.
The case was presided over by Peter MacDonald Eggers with case number CL-2016-000627.
Azman was sued by Triple Seven Msn 27251 Limited and Triple Seven (CIS) Limited, owners of two Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft (MSN 27251 and MSN 27252).
Azman had signed an agreement to lease the aircraft in 2016 for five years to transport passengers from West Africa to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
According to court papers seen by newsmen, Azman received confirmation from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) that it was approved to participate in the airlift of passengers for the 2016 pilgrimage on May 11, 2016.
“However, this was not the only approval which was required in order to participate in the 2016 Hajj airlift; the approval of the Saudi authorities was also required,” the court papers read.
“On June 15, 2016, NAHCON sent a letter to Azman informing it that the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA) had excluded Azman from participation in the 2016 Hajj airlift because it had not met Saudi economic, security and safety requirements.
“However, Azman did not receive this letter until some hours after it had signed the lease agreements on 20th June 2016. Azman sought to persuade GACA to change its mind and to approve Azman to participate in the airlift for the 2016 pilgrimage, but these attempts were not successful.
“On July 6-7 2016, Azman informed the claimants that it was not in a position to take delivery of the aircraft, because it was no longer able to participate in the 2016 Hajj airlift, which was the major reason or one of the major reasons for Azman’s entry into the lease agreements.
“In response, on July 8, 2016, the claimants called on Azman to take delivery of the aircraft. On 12th July 2016, Azman said was not in a position to accept either aircraft.”
Efforts to reach the company for comments proved abortive as mails sent were not replied. Numbers provided on the company’s website were also not reachable.