Volga-Dnepr dismisses court’s An-124 seizure order as unlawful

By Damian Brett

Volga-Dnepr An-124-100

The Volga-Dnepr group has dismissed a Ukrainian court’s order to seize five of its An-124-100 aircraft.

The Russia-headquartered airline group told Air Cargo News that it deems that the order of the Podolsky District Court of Kiev related to a ban on the use and operation of five An-124-100 civil aircraft of Volga-Dnepr Airlines as unlawful.

“Volga-Dnepr Group believes that the court order is fundamentally unsubstantiated so are the chances to enforce it in the foreign jurisdictions,” the company said.

“Volga Dnepr Airlines is fully authorised by the Russian aviation authorities for international flights without any restrictions. It complies with all international regulations governing civil aviation.

“All necessary actions will be taken to object the said order as well as to draw public attention, together with the attention of the international governmental institutions, to the current situation.”

The move comes after 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 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.”

The court order is related to RA-82068, RA-82078, RA-82045, RA-82046 and RA-82077.

Despite the order, two of the aircraft have continued to fly over recent days. RA-82077 has over the last few days called at Milan Malpensa, Denver, Columbus, Seattle and Mountain View, while RA-82046 has called Tunis, Stavanger, Novosibirsk and Johor Bahru.

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.

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