Ukrainian court orders seizure of five An-124s

By Damian Brett

A court in Ukraine has ordered the seizure of five of Volga-Dnepr’s An-124 aircraft.

In a statement, Ukraine-based law firm Ilyashev & Partners claimed that the Podilskyi District Court of Kiev had ordered the arrest and prohibited the operation of the aircraft on the grounds that maintenance checks have not been completed by an authorised entity.

The law firm, which represents the aircraft manufacturer Antonov, said that the court imposed the arrest of RA-82068, RA-82078, RA-82045, RA-82046 and RA-82077.

Only two of the aircraft appear to be carrying out flights at the moment. RA-82077 has over the last few days called at Milan Malpensa, Denver, Columbus and Seattle, while RA-82046 has called Tunis, Stavanger, Novosibirsk and Johor Bahru.

Volga-Dnepr operates a total of 12 An-124s.

The law firm also stated that third parties (airports, aviation authorities) are prohibited from carrying out any actions aimed at landing/take-off (arrival/departure) of the aircraft.

However, it is understood this is not legally binding.

The law firm said that checks had been carried out on the aircraft by Volga-Dnepr’s AMTES, but without the required participation of Antonov.

“According to SE Antonov, the investigations and the court, the admission of An-124 aircraft to further operation violates the provisions of the ICAO Convention on International Civil Aviation and Airworthiness Manual,” said Senior Partner of Ilyashev & Partners International Law Firm Roman Marchenko.

“The arrest of property is allowed to ensure the safe-keeping and integrity of physical evidence and compensation for damages caused by the criminal offence.”

In 2016, Antonov had threatened to apply for a ban on Volga-Dnepr flying the aircraft if it sought to move support functions for the aircraft out of Ukraine.

Given the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this left Volga-Dnepr in a difficult position.

The two companies later that year decided to end a joint venture business that offered capacity on their combined fleet of An-124s.

Read Volga-Dnepr’s response here.

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