March 21, 2022 By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A senior official at Transport Canada is accusing a Russian airliner of having falsely claimed to be a humanitarian flight to circumvent a ban and enter Canadian airspace last month.
Aeroflot Flight 111 entered Canadian airspace on Feb. 27 after the federal government had banned all Russian aircraft earlier that day in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The House of Commons transport committee heard today the aircraft was registered as being on a humanitarian flight before taking off from Miami.
Such flights at the time were not covered by the Canadian ban and officials say that is why it was allowed to continue on its way to Moscow.
Nicholas Robinson, Transport Canada’s head of civil aviation, says while his department is continuing its investigation, he is “disappointed” that the Russian flight appears to have used the humanitarian designation to circumvent Canada’s flight ban.
Nav Canada vice-president Ben Girard says the rules around the airspace ban imposed by Canada on Russia has since been tightened to prevent similar incidents.