FACT CHECK : Has the Russian Aeroflot plane caused a diplomatic crisis?

The suspension of flight SU289 to Moscow resulted in public interest during the first week of June. The flight was operated by Aeroflot Airlines, the main airline service provider in Russia. 

Hashtag Generation observed intense discussion and some disinformation regarding this incident on social media 

Reports indicate that the issue transpired from a complaint filed at the Commercial High Court, Colombo by Celestial Aviation Trading 10 Limited based in Ireland against Aeroflot. 

The Aeroflot and the Airport and Aviation Services (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka are named as respondents in the complaint. 

The Airbus 330-343 jet landed in Sri Lanka on June 02 carrying passengers from Moscow. 

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Here

The airplane was then scheduled to depart from Colombo (Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake) to Moscow. 

However, the Colombo Commercial High Court issued an Enjoining Order on June 02 prohibiting the clearance of the aircraft for departure.  On June 03 evidence in this regard was produced to the Court. 

Additional Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmawardhana representing the Airport and Aviation Services (Pvt) Limited, producing such evidence, urged the Court to suspend the Enjoining Order preventing the Aeroflot aircraft departing from Sri Lanka.  Judge Harsha Sethunga clarified that the order was not issued against Sri Lankan State but to the first respondent (Aeroflot). He added that the order was imposed based on a private conflict in the agreement between the Irish and Russian companies. 

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In this backdrop, Aeroflot has taken steps to halt commercial flights to Sri Lanka. 

Here, Here, Here

In the meantime, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Prof. Janitha Abeywickrama to inquire about the incident. 

Here, Here

Explaining the situation, statements were issued by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and the Sri Lanka Foreign Affairs Ministry.  The Prime Minister has informed the Russian officials that the Aeroflot incident is a private legal matter and not a bilateral issue between the two countries.  

Here, Here

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. here

Since the conflict was extending, the Additional Solicitor General took steps to produce a motion and requested the Court to halt the order. 

Here

In the meantime, another aircraft was sent from Russia to provide transport for the passengers of the SU289 Aeroflot flight to return home.  

Here, Here

Considering the motion, the Court decided to revoke the Enjoining Order on 06 June. 

Here,  

Conclusion – Through observing all these facts its proven that the Enjoining Order against the Russian aircraft was lifted considering all facts and requests from the complaining party. 

We can further conclude that this is a commercial and legal conflict of the agreement between the Irish and Russian companies, and not a diplomatic issue between the two countries. 

News Sources – 

රුසියානු මගී යානයක් උසාවි නියෝගයෙන් කටුනායක නවතා ගනී

ගුවන් යානය තබා ගැනීම ලිඛිත එකඟතාවය බිඳීමක්?

එරෝෆ්ලෝට් වාණිජ ගුවන් ගමන් අත්හිටුවයි

රුසියාව ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට සිය අප්‍රසාදය පළ කරයි

ගුවන් යානා හබයෙන් සිර වූ මගීන් යළි රුසියාවට

රුසියානු ගුවන්යානය අරන් යයි

ගුවන් යානය මුදා හැරියාට රුසියාවෙන් ප්‍රතිචාර

රුසියානු ගුවන්යානයකට කටුනායකදී වුණු දේ…

රුසියානු ගුවන්යානය ට පැනවූ වාරණය අත්හිටුවන්නැයි ඉල්ලීමක්…

වාරණ නියෝගයක් දී නැහැ – කොළඹ වාණිජ මහාධිකරණ විනිසුරු කියයි

එරොෆ්ලෝට් ගැන නීතිපතිගේ කරුණු දැක්වීම…

Aeroflot suspends Sri Lanka commercial flights

එරෝෆ්ලොට් ගුවන්යානයට පැනවූ වාරණය අත්හිටුවීමෙන් අර්බුදය අවසන් වෙයිද ?

Detention of Russia’s Aeroflot aircraft in Colombo is private legal issue: Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe 

Sri Lanka moves to free court-detained Russian jet

Sri Lankan court lifts ban on detained Aeroflot flight from leaving Colombo

Order issued suspending enjoining order against Russian Aeroflot flight

Aeroflot aircraft matter is private legal issue: PM informs Russia

Aeroflot suspends flights to Sri Lanka over aircraft’s arrest

Russian Foreign Ministry summons Ambassador of Sri Lanka over seizure of Aeroflot plane

Russian flight grounded at BIA: Sri Lankan authorities urge court to suspend court order

Russian passenger plane grounded in Katunayake by court order

Russian flight grounded at BIA: AG to file a motion today

For more Fact Checks by Hashtag Generation, here.

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