Toronto

Russian plane grounded at Pearson airport racks up massive parking bill

A Russian cargo plane stranded at Toronto Pearson International Airport is racking up parking fees of more than $1,000 per day.

Antonov 124 stuck at Pearson since Feb. 27 at price tag of more than $1K per day

A Russian-registered Antonov AN-124 owned by Volga-Dneper sits on the tarmac at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Monday, March 21, 2022. Canada's airspace is closed to Russian-registered aircraft. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

A Russian cargo plane stranded at Toronto Pearson International Airport is racking up parking fees of more than $1,000 per day.

The Russian-registered Antonov 124, operated by cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr, has been parked at Pearson since Feb. 27, the day it arrived in Canada from Anchorage, Alaska, to deliver a shipment of COVID-19 rapid tests.

That was the same day that Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced the closing of Canada's airspace to all Russian aircraft in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Volga-Dnepr plane has been banned from departing ever since.

In an email, Toronto Pearson spokesperson said the aircraft is currently stored in a "secure location" at the airport. She said the stranded plane is subject to the airport's standard aircraft parking rates, which amount to $1,065.60 per day, for as long as it remains on the property.

Goss declined to say whether the plane's Russian operator is being billed for the parking charges, or whether any of the amounts owing have been paid. 

Volga-Dnepr has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The plane stranded at Pearson is currently the only plane in Canada affected by the federal ban (formally called the "Notice to Airmen," or NOTAM) on Russian aircraft, said Transport Canada spokesperson Hicham Ayoun in an email.

"The aircraft is unable to depart in Canadian territorial airspace as it would be in violation of the NOTAM," Ayoun said. "The latter remains in place, and there are no plans to make revisions or change it at this time."

Canada's ban on Russian aircraft in Canadian skies applies not only to all aircraft registered or owned by Russian companies, but also to aircraft "chartered, leased, operated or otherwise controlled" by a person connected with the Russian Federation or a Russian corporation or entity.

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