Volga-Dnepr Group / Press-center / Media Coverage

Volga-Dnepr: Experts in Airlift Mobility


Volga-Dnepr Airlines celebrated the 20th anniversary of its first commercial flight in August 2010, as well as ten years of providing reliable worldwide operational support to the U.S. Department of Defense. With its formation, the airline is credited with creating a new international market niche for unique, oversize and heavy cargo transportation by air.

Established in 1990, Volga-Dnepr Airlines is an international organization headquartered in Ulyanovsk, Russia, with sales and operations offices in the U.K., U.S.A., U.A.E., Germany and China. Volga-Dnepr has an international team of approximately 2,800 personnel. Today, it is the largest airline in the world for the transportation of heavyweight and outsize air cargo.

With a fleet of ten AN-124 aircraft, Volga-Dnepr is the biggest operator of the unique Antonov AN-124-100 ‘Ruslan’ freighter, a commercial aircraft similar to the U.S. Air Force’s C-5 Galaxy but with larger payload and volume capacity. It provides logistics solutions to both the commercial and government/military markets, providing the capability to deliver up to 264,500lbs (124 tonnes) of outsize and heavy air cargo on a single AN-124 flight, utilizing the aircraft’s 991 cubic meters of maindeck cargo cabin. The AN-124-100 is the mainstay of Volga-Dnepr’s fleet and has secured the airline’s leadership in the international oversize cargo market since the 1990s, when it became the primary civil operator of the AN-124-100. Its ten AN-124-100s comprise 43 percent of the world’s commercial AN-124 fleet.

Volga-Dnepr additionally led the development and construction of a new generation version of the highly popular IL-76 freighter, similar in size to that of the U.S. Air Force’s former C-141 Starlifter. Compared to the old IL76, the new IL-76TD-90VD is ICAO Stage IV certified for worldwide operations, has a higher payload of 50 tonnes, offers a more efficient fuel burn, requires less crew, and has a longer range.

Volga-Dnepr’s cargo transportation expertise has seen the airline pioneer special, patented loading equipment to make it possible to load extremely large or complex shipments, such as heavy engines, generators, oil and gas pumping stations, reactors, satellites, aircraft components and helicopters. Since its first flight in 1990, Volga-Dnepr has successfully flown more than 10,000 shipments of unique heavyweight and outsized cargo to more than 480 airports in 188 countries. Today, its client list includes the governments of many nations and major international corporations, such as The Boeing Company, Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin, Space Systems Loral, NASA, British Petroleum, General Electric as well as many other Fortune 500 companies.

Over the years, Volga-Dnepr has provided airlift support for USTRANSCOM and AMC to COCOMs throughout the world, providing commercially contracted airlift moving Navy, Marine, Army, and Air Force cargo. Volga-Dnepr’s aircraft have transported cargo in support of numerous civil and military operations, such as deploying equipment to suppress the oil well fires in Kuwait following Desert Storm in the 1990s, moving relief supplies for victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan in 2005, and currently providing airlift transporting MATVs and MRAPs into Afghanistan. This latter project is helping to fulfill the U.S. Secretary of Defense mandate of transporting 500 vehicles a month to support troops fighting throughout the region. As of 30 August 2010, Volga-Dnepr Airlines had transported ninety-four tonnes of urgently-needed relief supplies to Islamabad on behalf of the German Ministry of Defence to help victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has created a global business by providing air cargo solutions to seemingly impossible logistical challenges by utilizing a unique fleet of aircraft and specialized loading and handling equipment, as well as through the proven expertise of its people. In February 2003, the airline was honored with a prestigious Aviation Week & Space Technology award in the category of ‘Commercial Air Service’. In February 2010, it was further recognized by another leading aviation magazine, Air Cargo World (USA), for the ‘Development of Cargo Services’.


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