Volga-Dnepr completes another Antarctic flight programme

By Damian Brett

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has completed its sixth Antarctic flight programme operating five IL-76TD-90VD charter flights to the continent.

The flights were operated from Cape Town to Novolazarevskaya runway in co-operation with the Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI), covering a distance of over 4,200 km and delivering over 200 tons of general cargo for work at research stations on the continent.

The aircraft completed landings and take-off on a glacial blue ice runway.

Ekaterina Andreeva, commercial director for Volga-Dnepr Airlines, said: “Despite the challenging times and Covid-19 restriction, we supported a slightly shortened programme to Antarctic Research Stations, thus enabling the scientists to continue their research programmes.

“Each year we increase the number of certified crew members to guarantee smooth operations – by 2020/2021 we have had two trained and qualified crews and we hope that by the next season we will have more.”

The flights were carried out as part of the Dronning Maud Land Air Network Project, which brings together various bases on the Antarctic to co-ordinate logistics efforts to help create efficiencies.

Since 2015 Volga-Dnepr Airlines has completed more than 150 charter flights to/from Antarctica delivering over 1,700 tons of general and special cargo.

“The modernized IL-76TD-90VD aircraft provides a series of advantages in terms of its flying distance capability, payload weight capacity, hermetical cargo hold, and its fuel-efficient and environment-friendly engines,” the carrier said.

For a number of years Volga-Dnepr has been offering delivery solutions with ‘airlift-and-drop’ possibility which are more preferable for some types of cargo and operating flights to other stations in Antarctica. In 2020, Volga-Dnepr completed its first-ever IL-76TD-90VD fights crossing the Antarctica on its way from South Africa to Chile.

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