By Tom Zaitsev in Moscow
A proposal by Ilyushin and powerplant manufacturer NPO Saturn to upgrade the Ilyushin Il-86 fleet with an extensively modified D-30KP engine has received a positive reception from several of the aircraft’s main operators.
The 1970s-era Il-86 widebody is powered by four low-bypass Kuznetsov NK-86 turbofans and is outlawed within the European Union as it does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation Chapter 3 noise regulations. Voronezh-based VASO ceased manufacturing the type in 1994 after having produced 103 aircraft, the bulk of which are still in commercial service. Major operators include Aeroflot, Atlant-Soyuz, Kras Air, S7 Airlines (Sibir) and Uzbekistan Airways.
Ilyushin and NPO Saturn have approached all Russian operators of Il-86s with an offer to re-engine them with a modernised version of the Aviadvigatel D-30KP, which powers the Tupolev Tu-154M, to be produced at Saturn’s Rybinsk plant.
The manufacturer guarantees a lifetime of 20,000h for the engine while Ilyushin says the airframe’s proven durability and aerodynamics will remain intact. “Apart from being more economical, the aircraft in such configuration will be compliant with ICAO Chapter 4 environmental requirements and capable of flying throughout Europe without restrictions,” the two partners say.
Leading operators of Il-86s have entertained the proposal in principle, with S7 Airlines saying it operates nine aircraft on charter services “and is keen to put more destinations within their reach. But the final decision about upgrading them hinges on project costs that still need to be assessed”. Atlant-Soyuz is looking at re-equipping all seven of its Il-86s, built between 1992 and 1994. “At present this relatively new fleet cannot be utilised in full,” admits one manager. “We’ll take heed of any worthwhile proposals to resolve this situation.”