Ex-B747, 777 operator AirBridgeCargo to resume ops with Russian Ilyushin IL-96

AirBridgeCargo is set to resume operations with Russian-made Ilyushin IL-96 aircraft
Soos Jozsef / Shutterstock.com

Russia-based AirBridge Cargo, which suspended operations in March 2022, due to sanctions, will restart flights with the Russian-made Ilyushin IL-96. 

According to local media reports, the airline will resume carrying cargo with the Ilyushin IL-96. One of the aircraft, registered as RA-96103, was spotted wearing the airline’s livery on the social media network Telegram. 

However, the images show the IL-96 without its engines or its vertical stabilizer and rudder.  

AirBridgeCargo previously operated 15 Boeing 747 and a single Being 777 aircraft, until it was forced to suspend operations due to the sanctions imposed on Russia and the carrier’s now-former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexey Isaikin, due to the unlawful invasion of Ukraine. 

Isaikin left Volga-Dnepr Group, the parent company of AirBridgeCargo in August 2022. Volga-Dnepr Group has two Europe-based subsidiaries, CargoLogic Germany and United Kingdom-based Cargologicair. Both airlines parked their aircraft in March 2022, according to planespotters.net data, with a former Cargologicair Boeing 747-400F being redelivered to United States-based National Airlines, with the aircraft now being registered as N537CA. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued the aircraft’s certificate on October 4, 2022, and, per planespotters.net data, it has been in storage at Orlando International Airport (MCO), Florida, US, since November 5, 2022. Ch-aviation.com data shows the 747-400F is currently undergoing maintenance at MCO. 

Previously, US-based UPS Airlines indicated in its filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it would add two second-hand Boeing 747-8Fs to its fleet in 2024. Out of the 15 total Boeing 747-8F aircraft that are currently in storage, 12 belong to AirBridgeCargo, whose 747-8Fs are currently parked at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), per ch-aviation.com data. 

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