Volga-Dnepr grows its An-124 fleet

The Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr, the largest commercial operator of Antonov An-124 aircraft, has purchased two An-124-100s previously operated by Polet airline, which went out of business last year. Both aircraft were built in 1995 and have no valid airworthiness certificates, an industry source told Russian Aviation Insider. The ferry flight from Moscow to Ulyanovsk on September 29 required a one-time authorization.

At Ulyanovsk, Volga-Dnepr’s home base, both aircraft will undergo profound modernization before entering service with the airline in late 2016. Earlier, similar modernization work for Volga-Dnepr was performed by the aviation plant Aviastar-SP.

Volga-Dnepr acquired the two aircraft to expand its current fleet of 10 An-124’s, an industry source says. Production of this type, the main revenue generator for the Ulyanovsk carrier, ceased in Russia in 2004, when the last two airframes were assembled.  Polet operated four An-124s until it ran into financial constraints, including overdue payments for its cargo aircraft, and was forced to leave the market.

According to another industry source, the aircraft were leased from Sberbank Leasing, which had bought them from National Reserve Corp. The bank declines to comment.

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