The Colombo High Commercial Court in Sri Lanka has arrested an Aeroflot plane for two weeks, barring it from leaving the island.
The arrested plane is Airbus A330, which flew from Moscow to Colombo on June 2 and was to fly back the same day. This is one of the planes that the Russian authorities refused to return to foreign owners. New registration of the airliner in the Russian register RA-73702, prior to that, this aircraft was on the Bermuda Register under the number VQ-BMY.
Prior to the war in Ukraine, Aeroflot’s fleet was based on leased Western-made Airbus and Boeing, which were registered mainly in Bermuda. Amendments to the Russian Air Code allowed Russian companies not to return foreign aircraft they used on lease. Stolen aircraft operate only on domestic routes in Russia, or to countries on “friendly list”.
As of March 22, 78 planes of Russian airlines were arrested in different countries in connection with Western sanctions, including in countries that Russia considers friendly – Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. Sri Lanka was on the “friendly list” too, but a local court ruling showed the country had changed its position.