Key Points:

  • Due to negotiations concerning its Boeing 737 fleet, Atran has recommenced using the Antonov An-12 freighter services for transporting goods.

  • Preparing for nearly six months, the airline secured an appropriate aircraft and trained a crew to meet airworthiness requirements for the An-12 operations.

  • Atran aims to facilitate cargo and products supply to northern remote areas through a route network that responds to seasonal demand, covering cities including Naryan-Mar and Novy Urengoy.

Uncertainty Over Boeing 737 Fleet Leads Atran to Resurrect Antonov An-12 Services

MOSCOW —In light of ongoing negotiations with lessors surrounding its Boeing 737 freighter fleet, Russian air cargo operator Atran has opted to re-engage Antonov An-12 freighter services, a strategy discontinued nearly a decade ago. The decision sees a revived commitment to bolstering transport networks in northern remote regions with essential cargo and commodities.

Atran’s general director, Dmitry Sorokin, revealed that an An-12BP adorned in the company's livery recently undertook a mission, ferrying 12 tons of consumer goods from Moscow Zhukovsky to Norilsk on September 12. This event marked the official re-inauguration of the An-12 services, with plans afoot to expand the network to accommodate cities such as Naryan-Mar, Khatanga, Novy Urengoy, and Anadyr, contingent upon seasonal demand fluxes.

Sorokin elucidated that Atran halted the utilization of the four-engine An-12s back in 2014, leaning more heavily on the 737 freighter collection. However, the current deliberations about the 737s’ future have impelled the firm to reconsider the An-12s as a prudent alternative, at least temporarily. This redirection steered the airline into a meticulous six-month preparatory phase involving the sourcing of a fitting aircraft and the assembly and training of a competent crew to satisfy the stringent airworthiness prerequisites.

The director expressed confidence in the company's expertise in managing this type of aircraft, highlighting their preparedness to navigate the anticipated route networks adeptly. Atran, a constituent of the Volga-Dnepr Group renowned for its proficiency in handling outsized cargo through the employment of Antonov An-124s and Ilyushin Il-76s, embraces a vibrant legacy of air freight solutions, a heritage the company seeks to capitalize on with this renewed endeavor.