Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VI, Ulyanovsk Vostochny) has lodged a lawsuit against the government of Canada over sanctions that were imposed on the company, in a case that could determine the fate of one of its An-124-100 freighters, the Wall Street Journal reported.

RA-82078 (msn 9773054559153) was detained on February 28, 2022, at Toronto Pearson Airport as Western countries began to impose sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine four days previously. Now, with the Antonov Design Bureau quadjet facing a second Canadian winter stuck in Toronto, the Russian cargo carrier asked a federal court in November to declare that Canada’s sanctions against it are invalid. It argues that the 29-year-old freighter is suffering damage. The aircraft has also been racking up airport parking fees.

The airline claimed to the court that it was included in the sanctions list by mistake, as it has not been participating in Russia’s invasion. It had sent a formal notice to the Canadian government in August 2023 demanding the return of the An-124, threatening international arbitration if the matter was not resolved within months.

The An-124 is one of nine aircraft of the type that the airline has, all of which are currently inactive, the ch-aviation fleets module shows. Volga-Dnepr Airlines also operates one (active) An-124-100-150 and five Il-76TD-90VDs, four of which are active.

After the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union had done the year before, Canada imposed sanctions in April 2023 against the Volga-Dnepr Group of companies and its founder Alexei Isaikin.

Isaikin ceded control of the company to other executives in October 2022 in an effort to help the Western companies of the group. He had already resigned as director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ UK-registered subsidiary CargoLogicAir (P3, London Stansted). Volga-Dnepr Group also includes AirBridgeCargo (RU, Ulyanovsk Vostochny) and Atran (V8, Moscow Vnukovo). However, reports claim he still controls the group.