Russian Company Sues Canada To Get Cargo Plane Back


Russian freight company Volga Dnepr has launched an unusual legal fight to reclaim one of its An-124 cargo planes from Canada, and legal experts say it might just work. The aircraft was flown to Toronto from Anchorage loaded with COVID pandemic supplies the night Russia invaded Ukraine. Canada closed its airspace to Russian aircraft and the huge aircraft has been parked on the ramp at Pearson International Airport ever since. Earlier this year, Canada promised to seize the plane and donate it to Ukraine but the transfer hasn’t yet occurred. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting Volga-Dnepr may have found a trade agreement that will further complicate that process at the very least.

In 1989, then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet president at the time, signed an agreement to foster trade as the USSR disbanded and moved toward capitalism. That deal includes a dispute mechanism that allows Volga-Dnepr to formally challenge what it considers unfair treatment, and it gives Canada a deadline to answer the charge. “If the dispute is not resolved within six months of Canada’s receipt of the notification, Volga-Dnepr Airlines will formally initiate arbitration proceedings,” the company said in a media statement. “Volga-Dnepr remains open to negotiations with Canadian representatives to resolve the issue and return the aircraft.” Canada has confirmed it received notice of the legal action but did not comment in detail.

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. A Russian plane sitting on the ground outside for a year? The best revenge would indeed be to let them have it back….

  2. I’m pretty sure I can find “legal experts” who think the a suit by the UK to get the USA back “might work”.

    In the meantime, Canada quietly forgot that their own highest court found many aspects of their universal healthcare system unconstitutional well over a decade ago. I doubt very much they will care about a suit over a plane which, as noted above, likely cannot fly without major service. After all, they have their own citizens waiting to see if they will get services so they can return to a normal life before they pass away or are permanently harmed.

  3. USSR no longer exists so there’s probably some wiggle room there.

    BTW old Eric W I’m a kiwi Dr and pilot so firstly how about keeping the MAGA snark about creeping socialism out of an aviation forum, it’s annoying for all of us who aren’t foil hatted conspiracy loons! Also ( no dog in this fight) the canadians have you well beat in infant mortality and life expectancy so you’re just plain wrong….