You Don't Want to Know What This Plane's Parking Fee Is

Russian aircraft stranded at Toronto airport for more than a year has racked up $330K bill so far
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
You Don't Want to Know What This Plane's Parking Fee Is
A Russian-registered Antonov AN-124 is towed at Toronto Pearson Airport in Toronto on Feb. 28, 2022.   (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Pearson International Airport spells out pretty clearly how much patrons might owe for both short- and long-term parking there, but the venue is now contending with one situation that isn't covered on its rates sheet. There are just over two dozen Antonov AN-124 cargo planes that exist on Earth, and one of them, owned by Russia's Volga-Dnepr airline, has been stranded at the Canadian airport for more than a year. It's since racked up a parking bill of more than $330,000 and counting—the equivalent of being charged about a penny a second since its arrival, per the Wall Street Journal.

The huge aircraft, which has been deemed a "flying monstrosity" and "big paperweight" taking up space at the airport, landed at the airport on Feb. 27, 2022, arriving from China with COVID test kits, per Jalopnik. But the landing came just three days after Russia had invaded Ukraine, a move that prompted Canada to close its airspace to planes owned, operated, or chartered by Russia—meaning the plane has been forced to idle ever since on the east side of the airport, "one of the few stretches of tarmac sturdy enough to hold its weight," per the Journal.

Airport officials want the space freed up, however, and so they're trying to figure out how to get rid of the plane, which has been exposed to the elements for nearly 14 months and needs routine maintenance—which Volga-Dnepr isn't currently allowed to perform. "We're just sitting here, watching this plane rust away," an aviation lawyer tells the Journal. It's not clear if the airline is even going to get its plane back: A weekend Facebook post from Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal seemed to indicate that the aircraft will be part of a sanctions package against Russia, and that his office is "preparing for the confiscation of the AN-124 plane and other assets of the aggressor in Canada [to] ... transfer them to the benefit of Ukraine." (Read more airplane stories.)

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