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Presidential approval for AN-124


RUSSIAN president Dmitry Medvedev has toured the Avi-astar SP aircraft factory in Ulyanovsk and given his personal approval for the resumption of serial production of the AN-124 freighter.

While being shown around the cargo hold of a heavy-lift and outsize AN-124 freighter by Volga-Dnepr president Alexey Isaikin, Medvedev observed: "There's a market niche for new large cargo transporters."

Volga-Dnepr has welcomed Medvedev's support for the aircraft. It has a fleet of 10 AN-124-100 freighters in the air, making it the world's biggest operator of the aircraft. The carrier has already made a firm commitment to order 20 modernised versions of the AN-124 between 2011 and 2020, with a further 20 aircraft to be received between 2021 and 2027. One upgraded version of the aircraft - the AN-124-100M-150 - is already in service with Volga-Dnepr.

Volga-Dnepr and its consortium partners Antonov Design Bureau and United Aircraft Corporation are hoping that the government will provide assistance in the form of an order for military versions of the freighter, a move that would allow serial production to begin.

During his tour, Medvedev also noted the potential value of working with foreign partners to move things forward.


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