The Russian cargo airline, Volga-Dnepr, and the state enterprise, Antonov, are conducting closed-door negotiations to extend the airworthiness of the An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft, Kommersant reports, citing sources in the aviation industry.
Due to the aggravation of relations between Russia and Ukraine, Antonov, under the order of the Ukrainian government, withdrew from the Ukrainian-Russian joint venture between the United Aircraft Corporation and Antonov and stopped servicing the aircraft of the Russian carrier. This situation put the Volga-Dnepr company in a difficult position, as company uses 12 An-124 Ruslan aircraft. The holder of the certificates of these cargo planes is Antonov and, according to its conditions, preventative maintenance procedures should be made every 4,000 fleight hours.
At the same time, Antonov was against transferring the right to service these aircrafts to Ilyushin's Design Bureau.
The publication notes that the parties can find a peaceful solution of the conflict, as Ukraine is interested in extending the airworthiness of Il-76MD transport aircrafts, which are also in the Ukrainian Air Force service. The publications source, who is close to the Ukrainian government, stated that in case of a breakdown in the agreement on the Ruslans, Ukraine could lose the certificates for the IL-76 aircraft. "We are advancing the agreement under the premise those Il-76MD cargo planes, which we have, as well as those used by the Ukrainian Air Force, are the intellectual property of Ilyushin's Design Bureau," the source said.
At the same time, he noted that an agreement could be reached only if the Verkhovna Rada would not oppose it for political reasons.