Does the Updating Program Scrap Plans for a New ‘Ruslan’?

Similar to modernizing the An-124-100 Volga-Dnepr is moving ahead with plans to develop a successor  /  source: LEJ
Similar to modernizing the An-124-100 Volga-Dnepr is moving ahead with plans to develop a successor / source: LEJ

Is the concept to retrofit Volga-Dnepr’s aging ten units comprising fleet of An-124-100s the better option compared to building a complete new mega transporter? A question we addressed to Artem Arutyunov, Deputy Technical Director Volga-Dnepr Group. Here’s what the manager stated:

Q: Artem, which are the main reasons for deciding to retrofit your company’s existing fleet of An-124-100s instead opting in favor of constructing a successor to the basic model?

A: Actually, the main reason is that the existing An-124-100 fleet has the basic potential to extend its lifetime cycle substantially once technically updated, while meeting all requirements demanded by the regulators, ICAO or IATA, including environmental and noise issues. To build a new An-124 XXX will require several billion euros and around ten years from kicking off the development until entry into service. In comparison, modernizing the current fleet affords less time and is much cheaper, costing only several hundred million euros. However, this expenditure of course depends on the technical specifications we still have to configure. 

Q: Does the decision for upgrading Volga-Dnepr’s existing An-100 fleet terminate all plans to building a new An-124 XXX?

A: The idea to develop a newly-built successor for the An-124-100s is still in our mind. As said, the modernized aircraft An-124-115M can be operated up to 2035 or even longer. But this leads to the question which large transporter we will use after 2040 for conducting commercial missions? To answer this question we need to start thinking today. But it doesn’t mean that this aircraft will look like the current An-124. We have already started a feasibility study on this subject. Key is to understand the future demand of the air freight market, which aircraft technologies are required and what global environmental standards will look like in 30-plus years. Currently, we are studying several scenarios and related aircraft concepts. This starts with simple passenger aircraft conversions to oversized cargo aircraft like the Airbus A300-600ST Beluga or Boeing’s 747-400LCF, and includes concepts for a completely new transport aircraft, specifically designed for oversized and super heavy freight operation. Our major task is to provide an aircraft solution suitable for Volga-Dnepr’s business development and sustainable long term future.


Heiner Siegmund

Source: Maximus
Source: Maximus

Maximus Wants to Deepen Ties with Antonov
Carrier Maximus Air Cargo of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keen to deepen the cooperation with Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines. This, Maximus said after maintenance works at their An-124-100 had been completed. “Reliable business relations established between our two enterprises are important both for the Ukraine and also the UAE,” reads a letter to Antonov, signed by Maximus Air Cargo’s CEO Muhammad Al Kouassi.
In addition to the above mentioned “Ruslan” Maximus possesses two Ilyushin Il-76 freighters that are operated by Maximus Airlines Ukraine, a 2011 incepted company operating under a Ukrainian AOC.



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