The Russian air carrier Volga-Dnepr Airlines is restarting its commercial operations with An-124-100 freighters. The airline’s whole fleet of the aircraft type was grounded following a runway excursion incident.
On December 29, 2020, the airline announced that the first Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft has already run necessary technical checks and is ready for takeoff for commercial operations. The air carrier outlined that it will step into individual negotiations with its customers regarding the returning to service and the availability of An-124s.
“It appears that we have been able to restart our An-124-100 operations before the end of this year. We are in the process of the diligent execution of the service directives, the technical checks are on the right track,“ said Konstantin Vekshin, the Chief Commercial Director of Volga-Dnepr Group in a statement.
“As expected, our first An-124-100 is back in the air again. The ultimate return will be incremental and we will still take our time to follow the guidelines reflected in the service directives,“ noted Vekshkin.
The Volga-Dnepr grounded its eight out of twelve Antonov An-124 freighters after a serious engine incident on November 26, 2020. The immobilization posed a problem as freight transport capacities are already barely sufficient during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The incident occurred on November 13, 2020. The Antonov An-124-100 freighter, registered as RA-82042, took off from Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo Airport (OVB) on its way to Wien-Schwechat International Airport (VIE). It was carrying 14 people and 84 tons of automotive spare parts.
During takeoff, the plane suffered what appeared to be an uncontained failure of the No. 2 engine. Following a preliminary investigation, Rosaviatsia found out that debris damaged the wiring and cut off the power supply, resulting in loss of communications, all electrical systems and instruments, brakes, and thrust reversers. The flight crew decided to go around and land back in Novosibirsk. Upon landing in the departure airport, the aircraft suffered a runway excursion and its nose landing gear collapsed.