Volga-Dnepr grounds its Antonov An-124 fleet indefinitely

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Volga-Dnepr Group has “put safety first” and made the decision to ground all its An-124s, following a recent emergency landing at Novosibirsk after an engine failure, The Load Star reports.

The carrier filed a letter with the Russian aviation authorities to notify them of the decision to ground its eight operational aircraft immediately.

Volga-Dnepr is also launching an internal and independent investigation into the recent incident.

Volga-Dnepr is now talking to customers to re-arrange flights as the aircraft were fully booked. The group had made the grounding decision despite a busy market.

Where possible, customers that can load cargo onto a 747 will be accommodated and Konstantin Vekshin, chief commercial officer, suggested Antonov Airlines might be able to support others. However, he added, Antonov should be conducting thorough investigations into its own fleet of An-124s.

There is no time-definite plan for the aircraft to fly again as Volga-Dnepr insists that “every step must be completed properly. Hopefully, this will be a question of weeks, but it has to be as perfect as possible – so guesswork on timing is not good enough.”

Volga-Dnepr has some 60 An-124 engines, all of which will need to be inspected in depth. They are manufactured and maintained by Ukraine’s Motor Sich.

Source: The Load Star

The official Volga-Dnepr press release

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has announced the temporary suspension of its An-124-100(-150) commercial operations as of November 25, 2020 until the investigation completion and identification of causes of aviation incident occurred in Tolmachevo airport (Novosibirsk).

On the 13th of November 2020 soon after take off the airplane suffered the uncontained engine fan disk failure of series D-18T which resulted in engine failure and the loss of control systems. Carrying 84 tons of cargo with full fuel tanks, suffering engine failure and loss of control elements, the crew managed to avert the disaster, make a 180-degree, land and keep the plane on the runway, skidding off the runway.

Following the incident, the Federal Agency for Air Transport has set up a commission, including Volga-Dnepr specialists, who are identifying the causes.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines acknowledges understanding from its customers and partners and takes all the actions to fulfil contractual obligations and resume safe commercial operations onboard An-124-100(-150).

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