A Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124 has been sitting on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport for over a year. The cargo aircraft delivered COVID-19 test kits from China and landed in Canada on February 27, 2022. However, Canada’s government closed its airspace to Russian-owned, chartered or operated aircraft on that same day in response to Russia invading Ukraine three days earlier. After racking over $300,000 in parking fees, the Antonov will finally leave Toronto Pearson soon but will be transferred to Ukraine.
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Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visited Toronto last week to negotiate a new aid package with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Simple Flying reports that the package could include the Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124 at Toronto Pearson Airport. Shmyhal announced the pending transfer on Facebook. He said:
A new package of sanctions against Russia from Canada. In particular, against the Volga-Dnepr company. We are preparing to confiscate the AN-124 aircraft and other assets of the aggressor in Canada and transfer them to Ukraine. The United States also imposed sanctions against 120 legal entities and individuals, including representatives of Rosatom.
The Canadian government seized the Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124 in early April despite the freighter being unable to leave the country since February 2022. The confiscation was part of an additional round of sanctions against Volga-Dnepr Airlines. In August 2022, the Russian cargo airline’s founder sold the company to management to avoid governments sanctioning the airline. Away from the seized An-124 in Canada, Volga-Dnepr still controls three more Antonov aircraft grounded in Germany.