Print this Post

Canada formally seizes Russian Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft grounded at Toronto Pearson Airport

July 2023

A Russian cargo aircraft that became an accidental fixture at Toronto Pearson International Airport was officially seized by the Canadian government on 10 June. A Russian Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, one of the world’s largest civil cargo aircraft, has been grounded at the Toronto airport since 27 February 2022, when Canada’s airspace was closed to all Russian aircraft in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Antonov An-124 is a large, four-engine, strategic airlift aircraft, designed by the Antonov Company in the 1980s, ironically, in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, as Ukraine was known prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. A total of 54 were built between 1985 and 2004, with 26 going to the Russian Air Force and the remainder to private carriers.

The AN-124 is the world’s second heaviest cargo airplane by gross weight, and the heaviest operating cargo aircraft. It’s also the largest military transport aircraft in service. The latest C-5M variant is capable of hauling roughly 140 tons of men and cargo, including main battle tanks and even NASA and SpaceX rockets.

The An-124 is the first physical asset seized under Canada’s Special Economic Measure Act, amended in June 2022, which allows for assets belonging to entities deemed responsible for a major breach of international peace, corruption, or human-rights violations, to be confiscated.

In announcing the seizure of the aircraft, owned and operated by the Volga-Dnepr Group, a Russian airline company based in Moscow, the Canadian government stated that it plans to give the aircraft to the Ukrainian government for their use. As an added insult for Volga-Dnepr, not only are they losing one of their aircraft, which was delivering a shipment of COVID-19 rapid tests to Canada, the company was also hit with a bill of more than $330,000 in parking fees for the 16 months it’s been grounded in Toronto.

Volga-Dnepr has three other AN-124 aircraft similarly grounded at other airports in Germany.

Sources: Antonov An-124 Ruslan – Wikipedia, Russian cargo plane that’s been stranded at Pearson Airport might be finally leaving Toronto (blogto.com), Volga-Dnepr Group – Wikipedia, Canada Confiscates Stranded Antonov An-124 – Airways (airwaysmag.com), Canada Just Seized One of Russia’s Few Remaining an-124 Cargo Planes (businessinsider.com), Canada just seized one of Russia’s dwindling supply of massive heavy-lift cargo planes (yahoo.com).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/canada-formally-seizes-russian-antonov-an-124-cargo-aircraft-grounded-at-toronto-pearson-airport/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>