Canada to transfer impounded Russian An-124 to Ukraine

A Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124 on the ground.
Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Canada is preparing to transfer a seized Russian Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy cargo aircraft to Ukraine.

The An-124 aircraft, registered which belonged to Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Airlines was grounded by Canada in February 2022 after it landed in Toronto just three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The mass scale invasion by Russia resulted in the closure of Canadian airspace to Russian aircraft. The move effectively grounded the massive transport aircraft at Toronto Pearson International Airport, where it has been impounded ever since.

This month, the Canadian government placed Volga-Dnepr Group and Volga-Dnepr Airlines on its list of sanctioned Russian individuals and entities.

Canadian law allows for the seizure, forfeiture, disposal, and redistribution of assets belonging to sanctioned entities.

This week, it was revealed that the impounded An-124 will be transferred to Ukraine by the Canadian government, following a visit to both Washington DC and Ottawa by the Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

In a post to his Facebook page on April 16 this week, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal stated: “A new package of sanctions against Russia from Canada.”

“In particular, against Volga-Dnepr company. Preparing for the confiscation of the AN-124 plane and other assets of the aggressor in Canada and transfer them to the benefit of Ukraine.”


“Against 120 legal and physical persons, including the representatives of “Rosatoma”, introduced also sanctions USA,” the post continued.

Photo Credit: Sean d’Silva (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

About Volga-Dnepr Airlines

Volga-Dnepr Airlines is a Russian cargo airline that specializes in the transportation of oversized and heavy cargo. The airline was founded in 1990 and is based in Ulyanovsk, Russia.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines operates a fleet of Antonov An-124 and Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, which are specifically designed for heavy cargo operations.

The airline also has a subsidiary, AirBridgeCargo, which operates Boeing 747 freighters.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has been involved in a number of high-profile transportation projects, including the delivery of satellites, aircraft engines, and even a 124-tonne oil rig from Germany to Siberia.

The airline has also previously been involved in humanitarian relief efforts, transporting cargo to disaster areas around the world.

In addition to its cargo operations, Volga-Dnepr Airlines also provides charter passenger services for corporate clients, governments, and VIPs.

The airline has received a number of awards for its cargo operations, including the Air Cargo Industry Achievement Award, which it has won multiple times.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines is also a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Antonov An-124

The Antonov An-124 is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft designed and manufactured by the Ukrainian company Antonov.

It is one of the largest military transport aircraft in the world, and is also used for commercial cargo transportation.

The An-124 was first introduced in the 1980s to serve the Soviet military’s transport needs. It has a maximum takeoff weight of over 400 tonnes and can carry cargo weighing up to 150 tonnes over a range of up to 4,000 miles without refueling.

The aircraft is powered by four turbofan engines, which give it a maximum speed of around 530 miles per hour.

The An-124 has a unique design, featuring a large, hinged nose door and a rear cargo ramp that can be opened while in flight to allow for airborne delivery of cargo.

The cargo hold is over 100 feet long, over 20 feet wide, and over 14 feet tall, making it capable of carrying oversized and bulky cargo.

The An-124 has been used for a variety of military and civilian purposes, including transporting heavy equipment, humanitarian aid, and even space rockets.

It has also been used for aerial firefighting and as a research platform for atmospheric and climate studies.

The Antonov An-124 is been an important aircraft asset for Volga-Dnepr Airlines.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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