Following several media reports, Volga-Dnepr Airlines has confirmed on Friday that it is temporarily suspending operations of its Antonov An-124 fleet.
The airline is grounding the aircraft type until further notice following an incident involving one An-124 at Tolmachevo Airport in Novosibirsk earlier this month. Volga-Dnepr says the precautionary grounding came into effect on Wednesday, November 25.
Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya) is currently investigating the incident.
Meanwhile, Volga-Dnepr Airlines says it “takes all the actions to fulfil contractual obligations” of existing customers. The Soviet-, and later Ukrainian-built An-124 is used for oversize air cargo that cannot be transported by common cargo aircraft types. It is therefore unclear how the Russian airline plans to replace the unique capabilities of its twelve An-124.
There are only few commercial operators of the type, with the only two large ones being Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Ukrainian Antonov Airlines. The latter continues to fly the aircraft.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.