A court in Ukraine has ordered the confiscation of several An-124 planes of Volga-Dnepr according to a lawsuit filed by Antonov. A German airport is caught in the middle of the dispute.
The dispute between Volga-Dnepr and Antonov is heating up. The two companies terminated their joint venture Ruslan International three years ago because of political differences. The fact that the Russian cargo airline hasher since been using and maintaining the once jointly operated Antonov An-124 freighters single-handedly is angering the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer, who has developed the giant plane.
Last year Antonov accused the Russian ex partner of falsifying airworthiness certifications and thus operating the aircraft illegally. The Ukrainian police are said to have started investigations at the time. Now the conflict is escalating further. A court in Kiev has ordered the confiscation of five of the twelve Antonov An-124 aircraft of Volga-Dnepr, according to the news outlet Air Cargo News. The Ukrainians accuse Volga-Dnepr of maintaining the An-124 without a proper license and of using unlicensed spare parts.
No aircraft located in Ukraine
But Ukrainian authorities are facing one problem: as none of the machines is located in Ukraine, the court has to rely on foreign authorities – including German ones – to enforce the ruling. An An-124 of Volga-Dnepr is currently being serviced at Leipzig/Halle Airport by its subsidiary Amtes Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Service. According to the German newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung the Ukrainians have now set their sights on this aircraft.
Antonov’s lawyers said in a statement that foreign airports and aviation authorities should stop take-offs and landings of the five Antonov An-124. Whether German courts and Leipzig Airport will comply with this request remains to be seen. According to Air Cargo News, Volga-Dnepr described the court ruling as illegal.