A Russian billionaire and his fellow adventurer may still be in Yellowknife after Transport Canada kicked their chartered Falcon 900 out of the country and fined them, the pilots and the owner of the plane a total of $24,000. According to Cabin Radio, the two Russians,Vasily Shakhnovsky, a billionaire former Russian oil and gas executive and Vasily Elagin, a Russian mountaineer and explorer flew into Yellowknife for a dress rehearsal of a leg of their planned polar circumnavigation of the world by car in 2023. They were planning to drive from Yellowknife to Resolute this month as a dry run to see what they might face on the trip dubbed the Transglobal Car Expedition. But they were stalled by Canada’s ban on Russians in its airspace.
Although the aircraft (VP-CVS) is owned by a Swiss company and registered in the Cayman Islands, and the flight originated in Geneva, Transport Canada determined it busted the airspace ban on Russian aircraft. The ban includes aircraft chartered by Russians regardless of where they’re from. Transport Canada allowed the plane to leave, presumably after the fines were paid, on the condition it carry no passengers. It landed back in Geneva at 6 a.m. Saturday local time. It’s not clear what happened to the Russians, who have not been officially identified by Canadian authorities. The CBC was able to deduce their identities thanks to a helpful NWT cabinet minister who described their reason for traveling to Yellowknife.