As many of you know, a Volga-Dnepr AN-124 crashed earlier this month at Novosibirsk. The aircraft took off fine, then lost communication, and was seen approaching with one engine flamed out, later noted as having exploded from the ground view of the engine after the crash. Debris from a broken turbine were found to have damaged cabling, leading to the engine explosion. The aircraft wouldn’t break well, and overran the runway.
The result of the accident lead to the new CCO (Chief Commercial Officer) of Volga-Dnepr, Konstantin Vekshin, to announce the grounding of their Antonov 124 fleet. He said the following in a letter to Russian Aviation.
“We want to be proactive and preemptive and demonstrate that we are a responsible airline where safety comes first. We have not received any official notifications or service directives yet, and there are no preliminary conclusions, so we have to suspend the entire AN-124 fleet with immediate effect. We don’t care how much revenue we will miss. It’s not even relevant right now. Safety is more important than any potential benefits from the peak season.”
He also questions the airworthiness of all AN-124s, not just their own airline’s. He has pressured the Russian aviation safety committees to expedite the investigation of the crash.
Volga-Dnepr has 12 AN-124s, the crashed one makes it 11. The IL-76 is the only other aircraft in their fleet, which they only have 5 of, one of them being stored. This will severely impact their operations, losing 70% of their fleet, but as their CCO has said, safety is their priority. I hope to see the AN-124 back up soon, if the result of the investigation allows that.
Sources (in MLA format):
Curran, Andrew. “Volga-Dnepr Grounds Antonov 124 Fleet Following Crash.” Simple Flying , Simple Flying, 25 Nov. 2020, Volga-Dnepr Grounds Antonov 124 Fleet Following Crash.
"Volga-Dnepr Fleet Details and History.” Planespotters.net , 13 Nov. 2020, Login required.