The Russian government is expected to decide by the end of October whether to provide $1.5 billion in aid to fund the relaunch of Antonov An-124 production.

Russian freight carrier Volga-Dnepr is launch customer for the new-build An-124 and, with design bureau Antonov, has enlisted ministerial backing for the planned production restart at the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk, Russia.

Russia’s industry and energy minister Viktor Khristenko has backed the plan, which would be funded by the country’s investment fund for major projects. Russian daily Vedomosti reports that a decision is imminent.

The $1.5 billion relaunch envisages a two-pronged process, starting with a three-year, $407 million modernisation of the Aviastar production line. The first new An-124, dubbed the An-124-100M150, is to be completed in 2008. The rest of the funding will cover 20 years of production from 2010.

Source: Flight International