(CMR) A Cayman registered jet chartered to carry Russians was fined by Canada for attempting to circumvent sanctions against Russia due to the country's attack on Ukraine. Russians are not allowed to charter jets; however, they may travel as passengers.
Last week, a notice from the United States Federal Aviation Administration stated: “The Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and regulatory orders will suspend operations of all aircraft owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased or controlled by, for or for the benefit of a person who is a citizen of Russia. This includes passenger and cargo flights, as well as scheduled and charter flights, thereby closing US airspace to all Russian commercial air carriers and other Russian civil aircraft. “
A large-cabin Dassault Falcon 900 with Cayman Islands registration, its crew, and passengers were reportedly detained in Yellowknife after landing from Geneva, Switzerland, last Tuesday. The plane was allegedly jettisoned and returned to Europe on Friday.
The Russian charter customer and the jet's pilot were both fined $3,000 each. The plane's owner, listed as Dunard Engineering Ltd., was fined $15,000.
According to The Bharat Express New, Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure, told Canadian regional lawmakers: “It appears that the plane and its passengers were en route to Resolute, Nunavut, with the intention of participating in a planned land expedition in the Arctic in a large all-terrain utility vehicle.”
It is unclear how authorities were led to the jet or whether the actions resulted from standard customs and immigration processing.
David Hernandez, Vedder Price partner and former FAA and DOT attorney, warns industry and consumers to act proactively to comply with sanctions. He says US officials are taking a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach.
He says the sanctions apply to holders of dual passports, so anyone who holds Russian citizenship is subject to the charter ban.
Last week during a webinar organized by Business Jet Investor, one participant noted that a flight with a European operator between Italy and France was refused entry into France because the captain was Russian. He had lived in the Czech Republic for 10 years.
While Canadian fines may seem light, Hernandez said operators are risking their certificates, and aircraft owners could have their aircraft confiscated.