Volga-DneprÆs maiden U.S. call with quieter IL-76 freighter
Russia’s outsize and heavyweight cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr Airlines has completed the first commercial flight to and from the United States of the IL-76TD-90VD freighter aircraft since it was banned under International Civil Aviation Organization noise restrictions in 2000.
In 2003, Volga-Dnepr initiated the IL-76 modernization program in partnership with the Ilyushin Design Bureau, Perm Aircraft Engine Factory and TAPOiC Aircraft Factory.
The revised version of the aircraft is not only quieter but has an increased payload to 50 tons and greater range. Also, it is the only civil aircraft in the world in the 30- to 50-ton-capacity sector capable of transporting outsize cargo to any airport.
The ICAO awarded the modernized aircraft a Chapter 4 noise certificate at the start of 2006, allowing to restart global operations. Volga-Dnepr took delivery in June of its first new IL-76 and has already operated cargo flights in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Australia. A second aircraft will join its fleet later this year.
The first flight to the United States was made to Detroit under charter by a Russian oil company from Kazan. A day later, the aircraft flew to Baghdad in Iraq with a shipment for a U.S. customer.
Volga-Dnepr forecasts that the latest IL-76 will have an operating life of 25 years.