Legal tangle leads to seized IL-78

A CARGO plane impounded at a Michigan (US) airport is at the centre of a legal, administrative and immigration row.

The Ilyushin IL-78 (like the one on the right belonging to the Russian Air Force) was blocked with a snowplow and sanding trucks at Sawyer International Airport by the local sheriff’s office. They had been alerted to a badly communicated restraining order to keep the aircraft in Texas that meant no one involved, save the lawyers, knew it existed when the crew took off. The sheriff then found out that five of the nine crew’s visas had expired due to being held up waiting for Federal Aviation Administration clearance, also back in Texas.

The crew then spent two days in jail before Martha Jennings, a Michigan immigration attorney, managed to persuade Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to let them stay in a local hotel until they left the country.

“I think ICE officials…realised they weren’t dealing with the kind of people they typically deal with,” said Jennings. “These guys got stuck. They were kind of in the middle of an administrative [mix up] that was not of their making or doing.”

For the full story see the latest issue of Air Cargo News out on 7 August.

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