Air, Feature, Freight News

UK aerospace helps keep Antonov aloft

[ April 3, 2017   //   ]

Ukraine-based plane maker Antonov – designer and operator of the mighty An124 – is replacing all the Russian components in its aircraft with items from other countries, including the UK. Historically, Ukraine and Russia cooperated in the design and development of the Antonov series of aircraft, but political relations between the two are such that Russian support for many items including navigation systems is no longer available, forcing Antonov to look elsewhere.

Paul Bingley, commercial manager of Antonov Airlines told a media and industry gathering at Stansted Airport on 4 April – when one of the company’s An124s was due to depart for Vatry, France with three large generators on board – that Dunlop had already supplied Antonov with replacement tyres for the An124 and An225 and other aircraft and that the company already carried cargo for Rolls Royce and BAe Systems.

Antonov Airlines is the UK-based company formed after Decmber’s dissolution of the Ruslan International commercial joint venture between Antonov and Russia’s Volga-Dnepr, which previously marketed the two carriers’ joint fleet of An124 fleet.

However, the problems of keeping the An124 and other Antonov aircraft flying should not be overstated, said Bingley. Most of the components in the planes are Ukrainian, not Russian. “It’s very manageable,” he said. (Volga-Dnepr also faces similar problems in securing Ukrainian technical support for components in the aircraft that it operates.)

Antonov will also shortly launch the first example of the An132, a smaller freighter aircraft that will be the first Antonov production aircraft not reliant on Russia.

In 2015 the US and Ukraine signed a new open skies agreement which allows Antonov Airlines to fly the Atlantic without having to apply for charter permits. However, permits have limited the development of the market in some other countries.

Meanwhile, the An124 and its big brother, the An225, continue their work of moving generators, railway locomotives and oil and gas equipment, as well as aid cargo and even refugees around the world.









The An124 is very easy to fly. Even a complete novice  to aviation or an FBJ editor can pick it up after a few minutes…