Category Archives: Volga-Dnepr Airlines

Airline casualties of Putin’s war: AirBridgeCargo and Atran

Volga-Dnepr Group, owned by Alexei Isaikin, has suspended flights of its two subsidiaries, AirBridgeCargo and Atran Cargo Airlines.

Flights were suspended due to sanctions by lessors and the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) terminating the airworthiness certificates  of the aircraft.


Volga-Dnepr operates to Antarctica successfully for the 6th consecutive year

Volga-Dnepr Airlines issued this statement:

Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the world leader in oversized and super-heavy transportations, has completed its sixth Antarctic program operating 5 IL-76TD-90VD charter flights to the coldest continent under the DROMLAN international Antarctic project.

All the flights were operated from Cape Town (South Africa) to Novolazarevskaya runway (Novo) in close cooperation with the Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI), covering a distance of over 4,200 km and delivering over 200 tons of general cargo essential for intact and uninterrupted work of the research stations.

With Volga-Dnepr’s expertise, experience, aligned procedures and capable fleet of five IL-76TD-90VD freighters, the company was able to accomplish landing and take-off on a glacial blue ice runway which supposes great skill and competence from the crew members.

Ekaterina Andreeva, Commercial Director for Volga-Dnepr Airlines, highlights: ‘We are proud to be part of the DROMLAN international Antarctic project this year. Despite the challenging times and COVID-19 restriction, we supported the program to Antarctic Research Stations, thus enabling the scientists to continue their research programs. We would like to thank our partner, ALCI, who creates the intercontinental air bridge between Cape Town (South Africa) and Novolazarevskaya station during the austral summer. Each year we increase the number of certified crew members to guarantee smooth operations – by 2020/2021 we have had two trained and qualified crews and we hope that by the next season we will have more’.

Since 2015 Volga-Dnepr Airlines has been part of the program and accomplished over 150 charter flights to/from Antarctica delivering over 1,700 tons of general and special cargo. The modernized IL-76TD-90VD aircraft provides a series of advantages in terms of its flying distance capability, payload weight capacity, hermetical cargo hold, and its fuel-efficient and environment-friendly engines. This enables Volga-Dnepr to complete cargo missions to any remote regions under severe weather conditions.

Each year the company ramps up its capabilities and introduces new routes and delivery options. For a number of years Volga-Dnepr has been offering delivery solutions with ‘airlift-and-drop’ possibility which are more preferable for some types of cargo and operating flights to other stations in Antarctica. In 2020, Volga-Dnepr’s specialists masterminded its first-ever IL-76TD-90VD fights which crossed the Antarctica on its way from South Africa to Chile.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines brings its first Antonov An-124-100 back into service

Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the expert in super heavy and outsized air cargo transportation, has re-started the Antonov An-124-100 commercial operations.

The first plane has taken off after the completion of technical checks and execution of service directives to a full extent.

Konstantin Vekshin, Chief Commercial Director of Volga-Dnepr Group, highlights: “It appears that we have been able to re-start our An-124-100 operations before the end of this year. We are in the process of diligent execution of the service directives, the technical checks are on the right track. 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”.

Volga-Dnepr has taken a thorough approach towards re-launch of An-124 commercial operations to secure the utmost flight safety in line with existing industry and internal standards. The company will be discussing the return to service and availability of An-124 with the customers individually and will keep them and the market informed about the situation.

Volga-Dnepr grounds its 8 Antonov An-124s

According to The LoadStar Volga-Dnepr has decided to “put safety first” and made the decision to ground its eight Antonov An-124s, following a recent incident at Novosibirsk.

On November 13, 2020 the airline issued this statement about the recent incident:

Volga-Dnepr’s An-124-100 ramp freighter aircraft has made an emergency landing in Tolmachevo Airport (Novosibirsk, Russia). The captain took the decision to return to the airport of departure due to technical issues and the plane rolled off the runway upon landing. No crew members were injured.

The plane was operating a charter flight from Seoul (South Korea) to Vienna (Austria) with a tech stop in Novosibirsk (Russia) with 84 tons of automotive spare parts. The airlines’ technical support crew with essential equipment immediately flew to Novosibirsk to evaluate and rectify any consequences.

After the emergency landing, all crew members were examined by medical personnel and most importantly none were injured. At the moment we are cooperating with the aviation authorities and Novosibirsk airport with respect to this event and will thoroughly analyze the situation accordingly’, – highlighted Igor Aksenov, General Director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines.

"25 Years" logo

Above Copyright Photo: Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124-100 RA-82081 (msn 9773052062165) (25 Years) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 947725.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines aircraft slide show:

Volga-Dnepr Airlines An-124 RA-82042 suffers a runway excursion at Novosibirsk

Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124 (RA-82042) suffered a runway excursion on landing at Novosibirsk (OVB) after declaring an emergency. The incident was caused by an uncontained number 2 engine failure.

Social Media:

The airline issued this statement:

Volga-Dnepr’s An-124-100 ramp freighter aircraft has made an emergency landing in Tolmachevo airport (Novosibirsk, Russia). The captain took the decision to return to the airport of departure due to technical issues and the plane rolled off the runway upon landing. No crew members were injured.

The plane was operating a charter flight from Seoul (South Korea) to Vienna (Austria) with a tech stop in Novosibirsk (Russia) with 84 tons of automotive spare parts. The airlines’ technical support crew with essential equipment immediately flew to Novosibirsk to evaluate and rectify any consequences.

After the emergency landing, all crew members were examined by medical personnel and most importantly none were injured. At the moment we are cooperating with the aviation authorities and Novosibirsk airport with respect to this event and will thoroughly analyze the situation accordingly’, – highlighted Igor Aksenov, General Director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines.


Volga-Dnepr Group assists in the effort to control Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Volga-Dnepr Group made this announcement:

Volga-Dnepr Group assisted in the Mérieux Foundation’s efforts to control the Ebola virus disease epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by undertaking a special cargo flight last week carrying mobile bio-medical laboratories. One of their fleet of twelve AN124-100 aircraft was especially positioned in Lyon-Saint Exupery airport (France) on Tuesday 08 October for the urgent needs of the Merieux Foundation and its logistics partner Bioport Logistique, France.

The emergency cargo flight carried three 40ft “plug and play” mobile container laboratories built in the Rhone-Alpes region of France belonging to the Merieux Foundation as well as a mobile laboratory truck belonging to the Praesens Foundation of Belgium.

The cargo was transported to Kigali, Rwanda by the unique capabilities of Volga-Dnepr’s AN124 before being transferred overland to Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo where the government National Institute for Biomedical research will operate the life-saving laboratories.

The DRC has been struggling to contain the spread of the Ebola epidemic in recent times and the charter flight was a race against the clock to be able to improve the Ebola diagnostic capacities in the city of Goma.

The Merieux Foundation had first received the call to respond to this national emergency back in July and within 2 months, the special biosafety level 2 and level 3 containers were ready to be shipped by Volga-Dnepr. These laboratories are essential to perform reliable and rapid diagnostic tests and to ensure biological monitoring of patients. The containers were joined on the giant AN124 by the truck-based mobile laboratory from Praesens, working in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease control and prevention.

Volga-Dnepr Group was chosen for this operation because of its efforts in supporting the emergency needs of the Humanitarian sector and due to its long history in providing airlifts of mobile hospitals and equipment. Volga-Dnepr staff from its commercial HQ in London, UK attended the loading in Lyon airport and were able to offer aircraft tours to the assembled French press agencies as well as to senior figures from the Merieux Foundation, Bioport Logistique and the Praesens Foundation.

Volga-Dnepr Group and partner airlines operates a combined fleet of nearly 50 all-cargo aircraft including the world’s largest commercial fleet of ramp-loading Antonov 124 and Ilyushin 76-TD-90VD aircrafts. The Group has responded to many of the world’s recent natural disasters and crises including recent air cargo assistance in Mozambique, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Guam.

All photos by the airline.

Volga-Dnepr to base an Antonov An-124-100 at Houston

Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124-100 RA-82044 (msn 9773054155109)PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 944728.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has decided to base one of its 12 Antonov An-124-100 freighters at Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) (IAH).

The airport issued this statement:

Volga-Dnepr Group, one of the world’s largest cargo airline operators and a leader in the transportation of oversized and super-heavy cargoes, announced it will open an Operations Base at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to give customers in North and South America faster and more economic access to its unique range of delivery solutions.

With the inauguration of the Group’s Operations Base at the airport, it will dedicate one of its 12 Antonov An-124-100 freighter aircraft as well as crews, technical support teams and special loading equipment for unique cargoes to the Houston facility. The move will ensure the airline’s customers in the Americas, including its longstanding and major clients in the oil and gas, heavy machinery, energy and aerospace sectors, will benefit from immediate local expertise and services to meet their specialist logistics requirements.

The Group has enjoyed a successful and growing partnership with Bush Airport prior to this new commitment, providing delivery services for the most challenging and complex transportation needs of companies in the region.

Located in the east cargo area at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the new Operations Base will improve accessibility to the airport and the Group’s services. It will provide unique and specialized on-site engineering solutions to enable the safe and secure transportation of heavy and outsize cargoes, using its team’s expertise in delivering complex load planning and delivery solutions. The Base will be staffed by Volga-Dnepr specialists, including load planning engineers and loadmasters, operations, navigation and ground handling specialists. The base is an expansion of the Group’s sales office, which was established in Houston in 2001, and will create 30 to 40 new jobs in the local area.

Volga-Dnepr Group has grown its presence in Texas and across the North and South American markets due to the unique transportation capabilities of its outsize and super-heavy cargo operator, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, and its special fleet of Antonov An-124-100 and modernized IL-76TD-90VD ramp loading freighters. More recently, its relationship with the airport has been extended by the Boeing 747 freighter services operated to and from Houston several times a week by the Group’s strategic partner, CargoLogicAir.

Konstantin Vekshin, Executive President, Charter Cargo Operations of Volga-Dnepr Group, commented: “For Volga-Dnepr Group, the choice of Houston as our Operations Base to serve customers in North and South America is a natural development of our existing relationship with the airport and another key milestone in the development of our company in the Americas market. This commitment brings us even closer to our customers geographically and enhances our ability to provide special ‘out of the box’ solutions which make our customers’ lives easier. We feel this move will accomplish these goals and enable us to offer more economical and faster services, managed by a team of local experts.

“Our business growth in North and South America stems from our holistic approach, focused on safety, security, on-time delivery with cost-effective solutions. This is not just rhetoric, we have been demonstrating these capabilities for over 28 years by developing innovative solutions to move our customers’ most complex cargoes. The infrastructure now located in Houston will also enhance Volga-Dnepr’s important role in supporting humanitarian missions across the region by facilitating fast response operations to the worst-affected areas in the aftermath of natural disasters. By working in partnership with government and non-governmental organizations, we know from long experience that accelerating the response to disasters in vital to restoring stability and saving lives, and we are now better equipped to do this than ever before.”

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline and airport): Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124-100 RA-82044 (msn 9773054155109)PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 944728.

Volga-Dnepr aircraft slide show:



Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding to order 29 Boeing 777 freighters

CargoLogicAir-CLA Boeing 747-83QF G-CLAB (msn 60119) FAB (SPA). Image: 933746.

Boeing, Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding have signed a package of agreements that will further optimize the cargo transportation leaders’ airplane fleet and global operations.

The deals, announced at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow, include a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire 29 Boeing 777 Freighters, confirmation of an order for five Boeing 747-8 Freighters, the purchase of a crew pairing solution, and an agreement to work together on future freighter projects.

Volga-Dnepr Group is among the world’s largest Boeing 747 Freighter operators. The Group, and its subsidiaries and strategic partners have leveraged the jet’s unique cargo-loading and cargo-carrying capabilities to build an unmatched global network for transporting unique, oversize and heavy cargo. Volga-Dnepr said it wanted to add more 747-8 Freighters to its fleet and affirmed a commitment to purchasing five more of the jets valued at $2 billion in current list prices.

While the Group and its partners have largely built its business on very large four-engine freighters, it now plans to expand its future fleet options with a commitment for the twin-engine 777 Freighter.

CargoLogicHolding intends to order 29 Boeing 777 Freighters, valued at $9.8 billion according to list prices. The airplane’s unmatched range and significant cargo capacity promises to open up significant network and growth opportunities.

The package of agreements also includes a commitment for both companies to explore other freighter solutions, such as new production 767 Freighters or converted cargo jets such as the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter.

With the resurgence in the air freight market – demand grew nearly 10 percent last year – Boeing has seen a big spike in interest for cargo jets. Boeing has now captured more than 100 orders and commitments for production and converted freighters this year.

Volga-Dnepr Group also uses Boeing Global Services to improve its offering for its customers. Its airlines use offerings such as Fuel Dashboard, Electronic Charting, Airport Moving Map and other advanced services, many of which are powered by Boeing AnalytX.

As part of the agreements, Boeing Global Services will provide AirBridgeCargo – a Volga-Dnepr Group airline – with a Crew Pairing solution to support the planning and operation of the airline’s 300 crew members. The program creates optimized work duties, improving crew efficiency and improving airline productivity.

Cargo Logic Holding Limited is the private holding company based in the United Kingdom. It is a unique platform that unites under its umbrella the International Group of the Cargo Airlines, with CargoLogicAir, the only British all-cargo airline, being its main member, which started its commercial operations on the global market since early 2016.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Volga-Dnepr Group): CargoLogicAir-CLA Boeing 747-83QF G-CLAB (msn 60119) FAB (SPA). Image: 933746.

CargoLogicAir aircraft slide show:

Giant Pandas are transported by Volga-Dnepr to Finland


Giant Pandas Lumi and Pyry have settled into their new home at Ahtari Zoo in Finland after travelling from China onboard one of Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ freighter aircraft.

The delivery of Lumi and Pyry was performed under a joint program of the People’s Republic of China and Finland aimed at the preservation and study of giant pandas. Their arrival in Finland followed the signing of an agreement in 2017 by the Preservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in Dujiangyan, which agreed to transfer the two pandas to Ahtari Zoo for a set time period.

During the flight, the pandas were accompanied by one of their keepers and a vet from the Finnish zoo, who ensured their safety and well-being throughout the journey. To monitor the conditions onboard the aircraft, special measuring equipment was acquired for the flight. One hour before landing, the crew gradually lowered the temperature in the cargo hold to 10°C to help the pandas acclimatize gradually for their arrival in snow-covered Helsinki. Onboard the aircraft, they enjoyed their usual food rations, including chopped bamboo shoots, carrots and apples.

In support of other wildlife preservation projects, in recent months Volga-Dnepr Airlines has safely delivered two Southern White Rhinos from the Zoological Center Ramat Gan in Israel to Rostov-on-Don Zoo in Russia, while the Group’s Atran Airlines delivered rare and protected Przhevalsky horses for Orenburgsky National Nature Reserve for a third time as part of a reintroduction program in Russia’s Ural Steppe.

Interesting facts:

The Chinese preservation park held an official farewell ceremony for the pandas, which was widely covered by local and national Chinese media. Finland’s Ambassador in China was on hand to issue symbolic Schengen visas to the pandas.

Lumi and Pyry were greeted by Finland’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, China’s Ambassador to Finland, Ahtari authorities and other distinguished guests at the VIP terminal at Helsinki Vantaa Airport.

To mark the special mission, a special giant panda sticker was placed on the fuselage of Volga-Dnepr’s IL-76TD-90VD.

Lumi and Pyry are expected to live at Ahtari Zoo for between 10 to 15 years and will return to their homeland after that. Their cubs, if any, will also go to China with their parents, which is provided under the agreement.

Photos: Volga-Dnepr Airlines.


Six Volga-Dnepr Airlines crew members are killed by the al-Murabitoun terrorist group

Volga-Dnepr Airlines (Ulyanovsk, Russia) issued this statement:

Volga-Dnepr Group logo

On 18-19 November, an Antonov An-124-100 aircraft operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines was carrying construction machinery from Oslo (Norway) to Bamako (Mali).

After completion of the transportation, 12 employees of the Airline were staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel to rest before their next flight. On 20 November at around 7 a.m. local time the hotel was attacked by armed militants of the al-Murabitoun terrorist group. Six Volga-Dnepr crew members were rescued during the rescue operation by Special Forces and they are now staying safe onboard the aircraft within the airport’s protected area.

On November 21, the victims of the tragedy were identified with the assistance of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Mali and we are deeply saddened to have to confirm that six Volga-Dnepr crew members lost their lives during the terrorist attack in Bamako.

The Airline’s Flight Operation Control Center is working with the Embassies of the Russian Federation and France in Mali and a Boeing 737 aircraft is being prepared to fly to Mali to bring our deceased colleagues back home to Russia.

At this time, our priority is to provide the utmost support, comfort and assistance to the relatives of the Volga-Dnepr employees killed in the tragic events in Mali.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines expresses its deepest condolences to the families and friends of our dear colleagues. The Airline has declared a period of mourning and all the flags at its Head Office have been lowered in respect to our lost crew members.

Alexander V. Kononenko
AN-124-100 Flight Navigator
Born on 14.11.1963

Vladimir V. Kudryashov
AN-124-100 Radio Operator
Born on 18.04.1975

Konstantin V. Preobrazhenskiy
AN-124-100 Flight Engineer
Born on 01.10.1959

Sergey A. Yurasov
Load Master
Born on 14.03.1963

Stanislav N. Dumanskiy
Aircraft Mechanic, Airframe and Engines
Born on 25.09.1973

Pavel A. Kudryavtsev
Aircraft Mechanic, Airframe and Engines
Born on 25.08.1988