Losses and Aviation Safety

Antonov Restores Operations of its remaining five AN-124 Cargo Aircraft from Leipzig, Germany, where the Company Relocated after the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Antonov team plans to continue the operation of the remaining five AN-124 cargo aircraft from Leipzig where the company has been able to relocate.

Antonov confirmed the scale of damage following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in a presentation provided to the Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC), which held its 20th annual membership conference last week in Vienna.

According to Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International, the airline’s home base at Kyiv-Antonov airport in Hostomel has been destroyed, as has the AN-225, an AN-74 and an AN-26-100 aircraft. One AN-124 and one AN-22A are damaged at the airport, with their condition under evaluation.

The Antonov team plans to continue the operation of the remaining five AN-124-100 aircraft from Leipzig, Germany, where the company has been able to relocate. To do this, the airline said it needs to transfer a full-scale base to the airport; deliver the spare engines, parts and other special equipment from Ukraine; source Western versions of the units where possible; and transfer technical specialists, flight personnel and key office employees to Leipzig.

Currently the airline is prioritising flights for the Ukrainian government, NATO/EU under the SALIS programme and humanitarian missions but there is the possibility of handling commercial flights.

Antonov estimates that in the next 12 months it will conduct 385 flights, with 1,270 landings.

As we have previously reported, Antonov’s representatives conducted a damage assessment of its An-225 Mriya (Dream) aircraft.

The world’s largest aircraft arrived at Hostomel airport for maintenance in early February before being damaged during the Battle of Antonov Airport, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

According to Simple Flying, ‘Access to the airport remained impossible until April 2nd, when Ukrainian forces regained control of the area as Russian troops retreated to the East of the country.

‘It is believed that the nose and wings of the aircraft, in particular, suffered considerable damage.’

Antonov’s team of investigators along with the An-225’s chief pilot Dmytro Antonov went on-site to survey the damage and conduct a preliminary analysis of the repair costs. They worked in collaboration with the Ukrainian defense company Ukroboronprom.

Simple Flying says that ‘The full findings of the damage assessment have not yet been released, although previous statements from the Ukrainian defense company Ukroboronprom put the cost of repair at $3 billion over five years. It also declared that the aircraft would be rebuilt at Russia’s expense.

‘However, if the An-225 has been as badly damaged as some pictures suggest, repairing the aircraft may not even be possible. Many of the aircraft’s parts were constructed in the 1980s and replacements may be difficult to come across today, almost 40 years later.

‘Both Antonov and aviation enthusiasts worldwide are keen to see Mriya back in the skies, and the manufacturer recently called on public donations to support the rebuild.

‘Yet perhaps a more feasible option would be to continue construction of its second An-225, which was started but never completed.’

Reports suggest that, even though this semi-built aircraft was stored in the same hangar at Hostomel Airport at the time of the attack, it appears to be intact.

Photo credit: Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon Own Work via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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