Volga-Dnepr’s new generation IL-76TD-90VD freighter aircraft has successfully completed its first flight to and from the US, the first IL-76 commercial flights in the US market since old versions of the aircraft were banned under ICAO noise restrictions in 2000.
The flight from Detroit underlined the return of the IL-76 freighter to the world’s major cargo markets. The ban on old IL-76s restricted the aircraft from operating to its former prime markets in Western Europe, North America, Australia and Japan.
Volga-Dnepr took delivery of its first new IL-76TD-90VD in June 2006 and a second aircraft of the same type will join its fleet later this year.
Volga-Dnepr Group initiated the project to upgrade the IL-76 in order to meet current and future ICAO requirements.
In order to consolidate resources for the aircraft modernisation programme and to manage the project, the Group established the Volga-Dnepr Leasing company in 2004.
With an increased payload to 50 tonnes and greater range, since joining the Volga-Dnepr fleet the new aircraft has also successfully operated cargo flights in Europe and to Japan and Australia.
Volga-Dnepr forecasts that the modernised IL-76TD-90VD will have an operating life of 25 years. It is currently the only civil aircraft in the world in the 30-50 tonnes capacity sector capable of transporting outsize cargo to any airport.