Leading Antonov An-124 operator Volga-Dnepr, together with representatives of the aviation register of Russia's interstate aviation committee (ARMAK) and the Antonov design bureau, visited London last week to begin talks with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority about obtaining UK certification for the Russian-built freighter.

The Russian outsize cargo airline has ambitions to register two An-124s currently under construction at the Aviastar factory in Ulyanovsk, Russia, with its UK subsidiary company (Flight International, 30 October-5 November). Alexei Isaikin, Volga-Dnepr's chief executive, says that UK registry would allow it to use the An-124s as security for western finance to continue the company's development.

The An-124 was originally certificated under the old Soviet military rules, later receiving Soviet NLGS-3 certification for civil operations. The CAA has made it clear to Volga-Dnepr that it would need to undergo the Joint Aviation Authorities JAR-25 process as the UK is a member of the European agency.

NLGS-3 has been replaced by ARMAK's AP-25, drawn up in the 1990s to harmonise with JAR-25 and the US Federal Aviation Administration's FAR 25. However, it is not yet clear what, if any, modifications would be needed for an NLGS-3 programme to receive JAR-25 approval.

Isaikin gives the An-124 certification plan a 50/50 likelihood of success. With aircraft on the production line, some modifications would be possible to meet CAA requirements, he says. Certification for the aircraft's Progress D-18 engine is also sought.

Source: Flight International