Russian plane that owes $425,000 could soon leave Pearson Airport in Mississauga to Ukraine

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Published April 17, 2023 at 4:55 pm

Russian Cargo Plane in Mississauga being fought over by Russia and Canada
A Russian cargo aircraft like this one has been stranded at Pearson Airport in Mississauga since Feb. 27, 2022.

Updated April 18 with comments from Global Affairs Canada

A large Russian-owned cargo plane that’s racked up more than $425,000 in parking fees after being grounded at Pearson Airport in Mississauga since Feb. 27 of last year may finally be cleared for takeoff.

If the Antonov An-124 aircraft, the world’s largest production cargo plane, does leave Pearson, it reportedly will not be heading back to Russia, though.

Instead, the plane will be sent to Ukraine as part of a new aid package offered by the Canadian government, according to online aviation organization Simple Flying.

In a recent statement, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal is reported to have said that Ottawa has agreed to transfer the seized aircraft to Ukraine.

The cargo plane is registered to Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Airlines.

Responding to an inquiry from insauga.com seeking confirmation that the aircraft’s grounded status has changed, Transport Canada referred the matter to Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Transport Canada said late last year that the cargo plane doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Global Affairs Canada spokesperson James Emmanuel Wanki wrote in an email to insauga.com on Monday night that the federal government agency “does not comment on potential asset seizures.”

However, the spokesperson did not deny the Russian cargo jet was being transferred to Ukraine and noted that, under certain circumstances, Ottawa “may pursue the seizure and forfeiture of certain assets.”

He added: “As announced by the Prime Minister on April 11 2023, Canada imposed new sanctions targeting those complicit in Russia’s war in Ukraine, including several security targets linked to the Wagner Group and Russia’s aviation sector. Volga-Dnepr Group and Volga-Dnepr Airlines are among those sanctioned.”

The huge aircraft landed at Pearson on the morning of Feb. 27, 2022, just before the Canadian government declared the country’s airspace closed to all Russian-owned planes in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

The plane was reportedly bringing a shipment of COVID-19 test kits from China to Pearson, via Russia and then Anchorage, Alaska, where it apparently stopped for refuelling just before its late-February 2022 landing in Mississauga.

Meanwhile, until it’s confirmed the aircraft has been seized and is en route to Ukraine, the meter continues to run toward half-a-million dollars for the Russian owners of the plane. It can be spotted on the Pearson tarmac by motorists travelling on nearby Hwy. 427.

As of March 29, the aircraft’s owner owed an estimated $423,476 in “parking fees.”

The tab will continue to grow by $1,108.80 each day (77 cents per minute as of implementation of new fees on Jan. 1, 2023), according to Pearson’s aeronautical charges and fees schedule.

The fees are collected by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which runs Pearson, and at the current rate, the parking tab will hit the $500,000 mark by early June if the plane stays grounded.

It’s not known if the owners of the large plane have paid any of the GTAA fees at this point or what, if any, arrangements have been made with Pearson to pay the charges.

Below is one of the initial social media reports back in February 2022 that identified the stranded cargo plane.

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