Volga-Dnepr Airlines brings cargo to Antarctica | Polarjournal
In the last six years, Volga-Dnepr has transported more than 1,700 tons of cargo on 150 flights to Antarctica and back. (Photo: Volga-Dnepr)

Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the world’s leading provider of oversized and super-heavy transportation solutions, recently announced that it has completed its Antarctic program this season. During the 2020/21 austral summer, a total of five IL-76TD-90VD charter flights to Antarctica were conducted as part of the DROMLAN international Antarctic project. The cargo aircraft covered a distance of more than 4,200 km and delivered more than 200 tons of general cargo for various research stations in Antarctica. All flights were organized in close cooperation with Antarctic Logistics Center International (ALCI) and operated from Cape Town to the Russian base Novolazarevskaya. The Novo airbase, as it is also called, is located about 75 kilometres from the coast. The runway is bare ice.

The Ilyushin cargo plane lands and takes off in Antarctica on a glaciated ice runway. (Photo: Volga-Dnepr)

Volga-Dnepr said its expertise, experience, coordinated procedures and capable fleet enabled it to conduct landing and takeoff operations on a glaciated ice rink. The modernized IL-76TD-90VD aircraft offers a number of advantages in terms of its flight distance capability, payload, hermetic cargo hold and its fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly engines.

Ekaterina Andreeva, Commercial Director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, emphasizes: ‘We are proud to be part of the international Antarctic project DROMLAN this year. Despite the challenging times and the COVID-19 restriction, we supported the program for some Antarctic research stations so that scientists could continue their research programs. We would like to thank our partner ALCI, who established the intercontinental air bridge between Cape Town and the base Novolazarevskaya in the South Summer. Each year we increase the number of certified crew members to ensure smooth operations. By 2020/2021 we had two trained and qualified crews and hope to have more by next season.”

Larger pieces of ‘cargo’ are also loaded and brought to Antarctica without any problems. (Photo: Volga Dnepr)

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has been part of the program since 2015 and has operated over 150 charter flights to Antarctica and back. More than 1,700 tons of general and special cargo were transported.

Every year the company expands its operations and introduces new routes and delivery options. For several years, Volga-Dnepr has been offering transport solutions that are preferable for some types of cargo to other stations in Antarctica.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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