Representatives from both Russia and the Ukraine met recently to discuss and agree on a business-plan regarding the modernization of the AN124-100 fleet and putting the AN124 back into production. The meeting, which took place on March 25, 2005 at the Federal Agency of production, energy and industry, resulted in a signed business-plan.

The contract concentrates on a five year modernization plan to bring the existing fleet of AN124-100 Ruslan aircraft up to their full 150 ton capacity and fulfilling all the IKAO requirements. Also discussed was the intention to put the AN124 back into production with the initial production of 15 aircraft.

The issue surrounding the production of AN 124 aircraft is to be added to the agenda for the Interstate Council led by both the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents. This is essential for ensuring suitable financing of the project. Volga-Dnepr Group, the largest operator of AN124-100 aircraft, together with Antonov Design Bureau and other interested parties from Russia and the Ukraine are preparing to restore production of the Ruslan at the Aviastar factory in Ulianovsk.

Expert assessment of the outsize cargo market predicts that the market will continue to grow at a rate of 15-20% a year resulting in greater demand and 150 ton capacity not to mention more aircraft.

Present at the meeting was the Director of Volga-Dnepr Group Alexey Isaikin, who underlined the importance of concentrating on the efforts at Government level with specific reference to investment and managing the system of orders for new AN124 aircraft.

Petr Balabuev, General Constructor at Antonov Design Bureau commented; “The Antonov Design Bureau supports the need to consolidate our efforts restore the production of AN124 aircraft.”

Participants at the Federal Agency meeting were: Alexander Zelin, Deputy Chief Commander of the Military Defense Forces, representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Ministry of Transport, Victor Mikhailov, General Director of Aviastar, Alexey Isaikin, president of Volga-Dnepr Group, Boris Nagatinsky, Deputy General Director of Polet Airlines. The Ukraine was presented by Valery Ivashenko, Chief of the Department of Defense and Industry, Petr Balabuev, General Constructor at Antonov Design Bureau, Gennady Sofrin, Deputy General Director of Motor-Seach, Pavel Soloviev, General Constructor of Progress Design Bureau, Alexandr Baranov, Executive Director of Kiev Aviation Plant Aviant.