Canada Grounds Russian Freighter It Chartered


The Canadian government has grounded a Russian cargo aircraft after the plane delivered a load of COVID-19 tests—for the Canadian government. The Volga Dnepr An-124, now the largest civilian cargo plane in operation, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Feb. 27 on one of a series of charter flights for the Canadian government’s pandemic response effort. The aircraft was in the air when Canada banned Russian aircraft from its airspace and on Feb. 28 the massive aircraft was grounded indefinitely. Volga Dnepr is crying foul and wants its airplane back.

The company told the Globe and Mail that it is working toward the “settlement of all formalities to be able to fly to its home base. Volga-Dnepr Airlines operated a series of charters in the interests of the Canadian government delivering vital Covid-19-related products from China.” The airline owns 11 An-124s but the one now “in storage” in Toronto is one of only three that are flying, according to The An-124 claimed the title of world’s largest cargo plane when its cousin the An-225 was destroyed during fighting in Ukraine in late February.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. There will be a day when the government decides it will seize bank accounts and private assets from citizens that disagree with the governments view or policies….wait, Canada just did that to businesses that contributed support to the Canadian trucker protest! It will happen in America too. First to the conservatives and then in a tit-for-tat, the democrats. This “moral” based confiscation of civilian assets will not end well for anyone.

  2. C340Guy,

    What are the alternatives?

    You do realize there is an actual war going on, don’t you?

    You do realize that the Ukrainian AN 225 mentioned in the article was a privately owned aircraft, destroyed by a military attack on or before Feb 27? Which country’s military do you suppose attacked that airport?

    Do you realize that apartments, business buildings, houses and other buildings are being leveled in Ukraine right now? Do you realize that apartments, business buildings and houses are generally not owned by governments?

    Do you realize that there is a national law and agreement that most major airlines sign that allows for the call up to service of airline assets to support wars when nations are attacked? Do you realize that it has been employed many times in many decades way back to WW2? Do you realize that airlines actively plan and qork on those agreements? Do you know that they negotiate with governments for fair rates in time of war? Do you realize that they make money doing so?

    Do your that just like you would go and help defend your cousin’s home and family if someone was trying to destroy their home, family and business, some nations have friends whom they will also help defend against the attackers?

    Do you realize that in times of war conscription used to happen in most countries? Do you realize it generally doesn’t happen in western countries anymore? Do you realize that countries must do things like engage the Defence Production Act in order to win wars?

    Do you realize that in war there are enemies, and also allies?

    Do you realize that some countries are not as “democratic” or free as others? Do you realize that there is at least one country in the world right now with a dictator in power?

    Just stunning that you don’t seem to know these things.


    • Do you realize that the “actual war going on” is between Russia and Ukraine?
      Do you realize that we have no treaty with Ukraine?
      Do you realize that Ukraine is not a member of NATO?
      Do you realize that Ukraine’s own political corruption and anti-democratic government landed them in their current situation?
      Do you realize that it is the citizens who always bear the lion’s-share of suffering in all wars throughout history?
      Do you realize that you and your emotions are being manipulated and that you are expected to say “How high?” when commanded to jump by your corrupt political handlers?
      Do you realize that you do not have a sound understanding of the course of the history of human civilization?
      Do you realize how un-clever, pedantic and annoying your “Do you realize” device is?
      Do you realize that you haven’t thought your argument through?

      • Yes.
        Ummm…no. And this is where you start to fall off the rails. Russia landed them into this current situation by invading Ukraine. I am sure you are aware that Ukraine did not attack Russia or was in anyway a threat to Russia and since the invasion Russia’s top goon has openly stated he wants to destroy Ukraine, thus bombing children’s wards and apartment buildings for example.
        Yes. (What’s you point).
        What? If I was being manipulated I guess I would not be aware, but again you fail, because whom do you consider corrupt political handlers. I mean, that is spy talk right there.
        Again…WTF? Is that even a comprehensible question? Are you talking about the full course of human history, because dude, no one does. It is nonsensical and not even germane to the article or the insults you’re attempting.
        So you chose to repeat it? Dear God that is as childish as two people arguing by saying “Your stupid”, “No Your stupid”.
        Do you realize you have not made one at all? As a troll you are either a beginner or the pay cut is getting to you.

        While not a fan of the OP’s post, his is at least germane to the article where by Canada seized a Russian asset, because of sanctions against Russia. Russia invaded a democratically controlled country and the World cannot stand aside and do nothing. Short of blowing physical things up the next option of support is economic, like seizing property of Russian companies and people.

        Let’s see, what’s worse, destroying a block of private apartments in a country you invaded or having an asset seized but still in one piece. Extra points, people were in the apartments.

        I’m fine with what Canada did and hope that any other Russian asset that is out in the free world is just as detained/ceased until Russian’s Top Goon is removed and calmer smarter heads make better decisions for Russia.

        • I am not fine with what Trudeau did.
          I am not fine with what Putin did.
          I am not fine with what Biden is doing and not doing.
          I am not fine with demagogues, tyrants or reactionaries.
          I am not fine with vacuous emoters who have all the easy solutions.
          I am fine with honesty, beneficence and peace.
          Never cease asking why…why…why.
          It is the only way the big picture begins to emerge that the evil doe not want us to see.
          We are not against each other here. We want the same thing. It is the means about which we disagree. We come into alignment about the means when we more clearly see what is actually the goal of what is underway. Resist credulity. It is so big, audacious and evil that most of us cannot let ourselves even consider it lest we be labeled, shamed and cancelled.

      • You are right. The use of the “device” was less than mature and socially functional. I should have refrained, because these kinds of exchanges are not informed discussion, nor rational. These less than rational, fruitless discussions happen between those who forget the perspective of some private citizens who want to be subject to no rules in their life, and others who have never been a decisionmaker.

        The enemy of rational thought is fear. I need to work on my tolerance of those whose thinking is driven by fear.

    • Yes, sir I do realize that bad things are happening to Ukraine at the hands of the Russian government. I standby my original post.

  3. The irony here is in the first line—-

    “The Canadian government has seized a Russian cargo aircraft after the plane delivered a load of COVID-19 tests—FOR THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT. “

    I support the sanctions on Russia by ALL countries—but Canadian hiring an aircraft and crew to deliver humanitarian supplies—AND THE HAVING THAT SAME GOVERNMENT IMOUND THE AIRCRAFT is “over the top.”

    Can you imagine the reaction of ANY free country had Russia (or any other nation) did that?

  4. Jim Hanson,

    Do you realize that the assets, like large yachts and other property of wealthy Russians is being seized all over the world? Do you realize that Russia is not governed by a freely and fairly elected leader? Do you realize that the current Russian leadership has jailed, assassinated and attempted to assassinate numerous political rivals, and continues to outlaw and shutdown dissenting groups? Did you notice in the news around the world that Russian forces are inside another nation, continuing large scale operations, using weapons of war, and have publicized troop losses?

    You did know that Ukraine is a sovereign nation, right?


    • So, it is quite OK to interfer with humanitarian aid?

      Especially by the nation that requested it?

      Or arbitrarily seize private assets? Canada also did that to their own citizens that dared speak up for their freedoms.

      How would it be if other countries started seizing US citizen and countries assets because they don’t like our politics?

      No Canada is not much better than any other totalitarian government.

      Freedom either means something or it doesn’t.

      Freedom isn’t something to just sometimes defend but then ignore other times because you don’t like the politics.

      Yes there is a war going on, a horrible war. No doubt actions should be taken.

      But to suspend the very basis in which we are supposedly defending makes it no better.

      • Chiefaviator nailed my response.

        I totally support Ukraine–and believe that the U.S. (and the hapless NATO) SHOULD be doing more to support them.


        CANADA has egg on their face over this one. Can you imagine if a Middle East government agency ordered a charter to bring in needed medical supplies–and another agency in that same country impounded the aircraft? The aviation community around the world would boycott that country. It will be interesting to see how Canada handles this.

  5. As of this day, there is nothing anyone can do to Russia that is worse than what Russia has done to Ukraine.
    Their circle of evil needs to come down and severe punishment for them.
    If you trolls think Canada is as bad as Russia, then you haven’t retained much of what has happened.

    • Why do you call people trolls that don’t agree with you?? That is the problem with society. If you don’t agree with me then I will take every measure to get you blacklisted, fired, and make your life miserable.

      • (sigh)

        People are not called trolls just for disagreements, it is a term used against posters that write either nonsensical statements, statements that have no shred of evidence, and/or just use questions to try and deflect actual discussion. AKA the Tucker Carlson effect and maybe the worst best Troll out there.

        As this is an aviation site let’s use this….A pilot makes a comment on FAA changes to IFR rules regarding instrument approaches. His comment is not quite in favor and raises valid points based on experience. Another pilot comes on and presents a different view in favor of the rule change and also cites examples.

        That is healthy discourse and while they may at the end remain unchanged it was a debate.

        A troll steps in and insults the second pilot for being a puppet of a corrupt government and that there should be no rules because every pilot should be allowed to do what they want with their airplane.

        You vernon fit that model because the only response you’ve provided is a two word statement then this post. One step further, your good comment is in response to what is a nonsensical response to the OP. Did Louis try to respond to the OP with valid counter points? No. He just parroted the OP with nonsense so you support that…well…

        then your comment here is way over the top. I clearly disagree with you so now am I blacklisted, will you get me fired and make my life miserable? Or can you put together a reasoned comment to counter you’re not a troll?

        Mind you, I have not directly said you are, but you do seem comfortable in that shoe.

        I’d rather read your view as to why what Canada did was so wrong given Russia’s actions. Please note that the plane was flying into closed airspace so with both hands I applaud the brave pilots that continued with the mission instead of turning around and thumbs down to the Russian a$$hat that started the invasion that caused this moment.

        • By the way, I do not go around calling people names and never called you a troll or any other derogatory name. You are entitled to your opinion of me. I am not going to get involved with “Flamewars” on this site. You have a good day and all the best to you sir.

  6. Doesn’t it bother you all that not only governments around the world are seizing private property but it is happening in the US (and with the sheeple of Canada) without due process? This is a really scary turn of events. Who is next, Exxon, the Koch brothers, you or me? War in Ukraine is just the latest excuse now that the Chinese Wuhan Virus has abated. If these seizures do not alarm the citizens of democratic republics, we are in for 1984-like excess government control or revolution.

  7. I think people should do a bit more fact check before getting all worked up about governments seizing private assets. Seizure would imply that the government took over ownership of the plane from a private company – however, despite the misleading title, there is no evidence in the article or elsewhere that the Canadian government did, in fact, seize the aircraft.
    It actually appears that the aircraft was in Canadian airspace when the ban on Russian aircrafts went into effect – and thus the plane can’t get out. It’s stuck, but still owned by the private company.
    So don’t worry, the government is not coming for your airplane just because you ordered a White Russian last night.

  8. In my experience YYZ layovers were actually be quite enjoyable. But then again Volga Dnepr’s per diem, perhaps never having been the best in the first place, who knows what the crew might have to settle for. Imagine them having to buy Benihana’s with the Ruble worth less than a fraction and their flag’s president having taken an oath to self destruction. I really do hope someone has pity on the crew and that they are well fed and watered and that they and their airplane remain where they’d all probably rather be – in YYZ as opposed to provisioning their flag’s military front lines in the crosshairs of their more motivated and more competent foes. Na zdarovye!

  9. Lets cut out all the crap and get to the bottom line. No matter if Putin doesn’t like the thoughts of NATO next door or if there was 25 biolabs doing research on nasty shit in Ukraine, no one was going to launch an invasion into a nuclear armed super power country such as his. Get real. He is the parasite killing thousands of innocent everyday people and you have to pick sides. Just like in the school yard for all you morons out there. He needs to die. The end.

    • Bravo on:

      – get real
      – pick sides

      – The dictator Hitler died by his own hand as Allied troops closed in (coward).

      The dictator Sadam Hussein was found cowering in a hole, then hung by his own people (not forgetting the WMD farce – why do I feel so strongly that Rumsfeld was a key culprit?)

      The dictator Gadaffi ran like a scared girl and in the end hid inside a pipe while his security guys fought off attackers.

      The dictator Putin will suffer a similar fate. Too bad we couldn’t give him a nice Seal Team 6 send off. Will have to leave it to his own people (where’s von Staffenberg when you need him?)

  10. And by the way I feel sorry for the real truckdrivers who get associated with “freedom fighters” due to the coincidence they drive trucks. I am Canadian and everyone has the right to be as stupid as they want until it infringes on my right to sleeping in my own home due to a bunch of unemployed idiots honking air horns 24/7 and blocking my driveway. Freedom?? The real freedom fighters are across the pond

  11. It is very important to have Antonov’s aircraft flying munitions to Ukraine at this very moment.
    It is no time for the Canadian government, or any other government, to stop this famous aircraft from doing what it is capable of doing and is doing at this very moment, as you can see for yourself on RADAR24.
    Getting an aircraft and powerplant mechanics license is no easy task nor was it ever an easy task to have an AP license and to work on aircraft. I came to America with little more than the shirt on my back. I fell in love with America. You should be happy to be an American.
    I joined the United States Army. The Army made me an aircraft mechanic at Fort Rucker Alabama in 1963. Then they sent me to the 4th armored division in Germany. This was during the so-called Cold War-it was anything but cold. I remember being very cold in the Black Forest, with the snow falling on my head, pulling guard duty on top of the hill, not even a citizen yet. I remember our captain standing in front of us in the morning and saying,’ when the crap hits the fan you all have 10 minutes to live and you best make the best of it. Then, I went to work on aircraft and helicopters. I was a crew chief and I was assigned my own aircraft.
    Please, fellow pilots and mechanics, aviation pundits, stop beating up on each other. Putin must be stopped at all costs. Much like the ‘Retreat from Dunkirk’, We need every aircraft that can fly to bring help to Ukraine now. Putin is the schoolyard bully and he needs a good ass-kicking. In my school in Ireland we fought many battles; here is an example. Rocky Marciano won the heavyweight world championship and we cheered his win. Then we decided that we needed to have a boxing match to figure out the difference between North and South of the River Lee which passed through our valley.
    If you happened to be South of the river and I happened to be north of the river we would have a boxing match right there and then. The only question was, ‘are you from the north or south of the river? Our schoolmaster, Seamus O’Leary, when he saw all of us out on the grassy field beating up on each other he was flabbergasted. So we all came back into school and sat down as if nothing had happened because actually, we were all good friends.
    When I came back to America I bought a Tade-A-Plane, the yellow pages of airplanes and things that fly. It was headquarters in Crossville Tennessee at the time, maybe it is still there. I found a school in Oklahoma that was geared towards teaching folks for the A&P check ride. I went out to Oklahoma and I had a great time for a couple of weeks studying hard to get the A&P license. I had never been to Oklahoma and I fell in love with the place. In the evenings we went out dancing and I met some wonderful people.
    I took the A&P test in Oklahoma City. It was difficult but I passed. It is well worth the effort to get the two licenses.
    As for myself, times, now that I’m 82 years old and waiting in the departure lounge of this retirement home, I take out all my licenses and ratings and look at them and I think of Kenny Rogers’s song, ‘The Gambler’.
    The following information I found on the website.
    Heroiam slava!; translated as: Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!)
    Antonov aircraft company is Ukrainian.
    This is the 116th anniversary of Oleg Antonov’s birthday.
    February 7, 2022, is the 116th anniversary of the birthday of Oleg Antonov, a great aircraft designer, talented scientist, founder of Antonov aircraft.
    Founded: May 31, 1946
    Headquarters: Kiev, Ukraine
    Founder: Oleg Antonov
    Designed: Antonov An-124 Ruslan · Antonov An-32 · PZL M28 Skytruck · Antonov An-38
    Subsidiaries: Antonov Serial Production Plant · Antonov Airlines