Argentina has agreed to surrender a 747-300 registered in Venezuela to the US over breaches of US export control legislation.

This arrangement comes after the aircraft’s seizure for a year and six months, alongside the detention of the aircraft’s crew for five months.

Since June 2022, the Emtrasur Cargo aircraft, registering YV-3531, has been parked at Buenos Aires Airport. The aircraft entered Argentina, after attempting to enter Uruguay. It was refused landing permissions due to reports of “excessive” passenger numbers, including Iranian nationals.

According to US Justice Department, one of the Iranian nationals was suspected of having terrorist affiliations with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

Federico Villena, a federal judge with jurisdiction over Buenos Aires’ international Ezeiza Airport ordered the Boeing 747 aircraft to be returned to the US on 4 January 2024.

According to Emtrasur, Argentina violated its aviation obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the Convention on Transit of International Air Services.

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The Venezuelan company released a statement on 4 January condemning the decision from the Argentinian court.

Emtrasur stated: “The Southern Aerocargo Transport Company (EMTRASUR), a Venezuelan state-owned company dedicated to the operation of cargo and mail transport services, duly authorized by the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC) categorically rejects and condemns the arbitrary and illegal decision of the Lomas de Zamora Federal Court, by Judge Federico Villena”.

According to Emtrasur, the ruling is contradictory and concludes that the Court-ordered release of the crew and aircraft demonstrates that there are “no valid elements of conviction”.

Emtrasur has declared that it reserves the right to sue for damages to the company’s patrimony, violations of human rights, and violations of the International Civil Aviation Convention.