The Execution Service under the Government of Tajikistan is seeking repayment of Tajik national air carrier’s debt of US$20 million to Lithuanian UAB Skyroad Leasing.

The Execution Service representatives told reporters in Dushanbe on July 20 that Tajik Air’s bank accounts have been frozen to recover this amount.

But the problems is that Tajik Air’s accounts are currently pending.  Tajik national air carrier has reportedly owed a large amount in the form of taxes and other payments.  

Recall, Tajikistan’s High Economic Court in July last year satisfied the claim filed by Lithuania’s Skyroad Leasing against the Tajik national air carrier Tajik Air. 

Bakhtiyor Naimzoda, the Judge at the High Economic Court of Tajikistan, told reporters in Dushanbe on July 22 last year that the High Economic Court has upheld Dushanbe Economic Court verdict’s which ordered Tajik Air in 2018 to pay an outstanding debt of 20 million U.S. dollars.

A court in the United States last month rejected Lithuanian company’s claims against Tajik Air as it lacked personal jurisdiction over Tajik Air.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit noted on June 17, 2022 that the district court granted the motion, ruling that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Tajik Air under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

UAB Skyroad Leasing (Skyroad), a Lithuanian company, seeks to enforce an arbitral award against OJSC Tajik Air (“Tajik Air”), an airline wholly owned by the Republic of Tajikistan.

The Vilnius Court of Commercial Arbitration issued a final award in Skyroad’s favor, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.  Tajik Air has not yet paid the arbitral award, and Skyroad filed a petition to enforce the award in the district court pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 207.

Tajik Air moved to dismiss for improper service of process and lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion, ruling that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Tajik Air under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

It is to be noted that Tajik Air in September 2009 entered into two identical lease agreements with a Lithuanian company called AB Avia Asset Management for the lease of two Boeing aircraft.  The agreements required Tajik Air to pay monthly rent of US$149,000 for each aircraft and to return the two aircraft at the end of the 60-month lease period.  On November 2, 2010, AB Avia Asset Management transferred all rights and obligations under the lease agreements to UAB AviaAM B03, which later became UAB Skyroad Leasing.

In 2013, after Tajik Air started falling behind on the monthly lease payments, Skyroad initiated arbitration proceedings pursuant to the agreements, resulting in an award of $2,824,000 plus interest.  When Tajik Air remained delinquent on payments and failed to return the aircraft at the end of the leases, Skyroad initiated a second arbitration proceeding with the Vilnius Commercial Arbitration Court (VCCA) tribunal on September 5, 2017, whose ultimate award is the subject of this action.

After the Lithuanian court's decision, an appeal by the airline was rejected.  On top of the USD20 million, the court demanded USD84,000 from the airline in legal costs.

The only state-owned aviation company in Tajikistan, Tajik Air has been experiencing economic difficulties for years.