The fight between the Ukraine and Russia concerning the future of the Antonov AN-124 Ruslan freighter continues without it seems any hope of both sides reaching an agreement. The same applies to the claims against Volga-Dnepr for alleged false certification for the aircraft.
Unclear criminal case opened by Ukraine
CargoForwarder Global had previously reported that the Ukraine police had opened a criminal case against Rosaviation officials and Moscow-based Volga-Dnepr for allegedly falsifying certificates of airworthiness for the mighty Antonov 124-100 aircraft. Also listed in the Ukrainian claim of July 17th is the German MRO company AMTES which is part of the Volga-Dnepr group of companies.
The claim against Rosaviatsiya and AMTES accuses both of renewing the AN-124-100 airworthiness certificates for the aircraft of this type operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines without having Antonov on hand to supervise the certification. It is said that Rosaviatsiya had justified their move because Antonov had increased their maintenance prices to an exhoribant level after the start of the Crimea annexation by the Russian military and also that Antonov had delayed repair procedures to an extent which was not acceptable.
To make matters worse, the Ukranian State Aviation Administration sent a complaint on May 4th this year to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) stating that aircraft maintenance for the AN-24, AN-26, AN-74 and AN-124 Ruslan aircraft done by AMTES was not approved by the manufacturer.
Heavy claims - but so far not substantiated.
Volga-Dnepr fights back
In the meantime, Volga-Dnepr Airlines has strongly denied that Leipzig-based AMTES is under criminal investigation regarding maintenance procedures on the carrier’s fleet of twelve AN-124-100 freighters.
A statement recently issued by Volga-Dnepr and published in ch-aviation last week, categorically states that -
“AMTES and its management have not received any official notifications of a criminal case nor any enquiries or investigations from the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine or other countries of the Group’s presence. There is no official information regarding the subject matter, scope or participants of the supposed investigation. All documents confirming the airworthiness of the AN-124-100 aircraft were issued by the competent authorities of the Russian Federation and are fully compliant with international law.”
Storm in a teacup?
It’s no secret that relations between the Ukraine and Russia are very frosty since the illegal Crimean takeover by Russia in 2014. The Antonov aircraft manufacturer is suffering under this as both sides claim that the AN aircraft design and manufacture rights belong to them. A few talks were initiated to try and solve the issue. However, to no avail.
It’s high-time that someone, somewhere manages to start a positive dialogue as to the future of this great freighter aircraft as well as the other Antonov freighters in service or in the planning.
Volga-Dnepr has been put into a difficult situation with the ongoing war off words and would dearly like to see a solution pretty fast so that they can count on being able to use these aircraft in the future and hopefully become part of a team for design and production of a follow-up model.
John Mc Donagh