russian plane canada

Massive Russian plane might be stuck at Toronto airport for a while

No conflict is entirely localized in the 21st century. As Russia invades Ukraine and threatens to destabilize all of Europe, there has been plenty of fallout a continent away in Toronto.

It looks like Russia just lost a plane, and it wasn't even in the warzone they created for themselves overseas. In the latest setback for the eastern nuclear sabre-rattling superpower, it seems an enormous beast of a Russian airplane is stuck in Toronto for the foreseeable future.

The cargo jet landed at Pearson Airport on Sunday morning and, due to international sanctions, is now subject to Canadian airspace restrictions prohibiting all aircraft owned, chartered, or operated by Russia or a company/person connected to that country.

Registered to Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the titan is one of a fleet of twelve Antonov An-124 aircraft, which is the world's largest production cargo plane.

The Russian-flagged private aircraft might not be leaving Toronto any time soon, a well-known aviation expert on Twitter photographing the static giant and claiming an exemption will be required for it to take to the skies again.

The aircraft departed Khabarovsk in Russia's far east on Saturday, stopping in Anchorage, Alaska, reportedly for fuel, before arriving in Toronto, where it remains as of Monday afternoon.

A heavy-lift Russian cargo plane landing in Toronto might seem a bit shady, but one commenter on Twitter claims that the flight was delivering COVID-19 test kits to Canada from a supplier in China.

It may be owned by a private airline and reportedly chartered on delivery, but the military capabilities of these heavy-hauling aircraft cannot be understated.

These things can carry a whole lot of cargo, its military variant capable of hauling an astonishing 150 tonnes. One of these An-124 cargo bays is large enough to fit an Atlas V rocket main stage.

The airline's at least temporary loss of one of its flagship behemoths comes amid reports that the Russian military has destroyed the even larger Antonov An-225 in Ukraine, the lone built example of an absolute giant designed to carry the ill-fated Soviet Buran space shuttle.

It was operated by Ukrainian-based Antonov Airlines as a special-purpose heavy-lift transport, flying out of an airport northwest of Kyiv now occupied by Russian forces.

The now-destroyed Antonov Airlines An-225 had landed in Toronto a few times over the years, the world's largest plane drawing crowds every time it touched down.

Its destruction has people calling for the grounded An-124 in Toronto to be seized by Canadian authorities, one person even going biblical and suggesting Canada destroy the aircraft in an unlikely-to-occur eye-for-an-eye move.

An exemption could still be in the cards, allowing this aircraft to proceed to its next destination, though it might just be stuck here indefinitely as the situation in Ukraine descends further into chaos.

Lead photo by

Magno Dias


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