MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to a source in the aviation industry, Russia and Ukraine may resume cooperation on maintaining the airworthiness of Russian-Ukrainian Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy cargo aircraft: "Both sides are interested in reaching an agreement, but the final decision has not been adopted yet over difficult relations between the two states… There is an understanding of the service cost and the place of production — a unit of the Ukrainian enterprise will start production at the Aviastar-SP factory in Ulyanovsk."
According to the Russia's Kommersant newspaper, the two sides have started closed negotiations on the issue.
Another source told the newspaper that Kiev might be more interested in resuming cooperation since the Ukrainian enterprise has not produced any aircraft since 2016, and servicing An-124s would bring money into the company
At the same time, Volga-Dnepr is engaged in major international cargo transportation projects, and if Kiev blocks Ruslan planes from being serviced, the flights will become more expensive for the airlines's clients, another source noted.
An-124 nose-first touchdown!😟😨 pic.twitter.com/ykr3QLjVvH— Aviation photo ✈ (@Airplane_pic) 2 ноября 2017 г.
The falling out between Russia and Ukraine amid the 2014 coup in Kiev and Ukraine's subsequent military crackdown on independence supporters in Donbass not only stopped joint projects, but also created serious difficulties for Volga-Dnepr. It needed to extend its resources and ensure the life cycle of the An-124-100 Ruslan, the world's largest civil cargo aircraft. Volga-Dnepr has 12 An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft.