Ban Follows Two IL-76 Incidents
China's had enough.
After two mishaps -- one deadly -- involving Ilyushin IL-76
cargo aircraft chartered from the former Soviet Union, China has
banned such flights indefinitely.
Regularly scheduled cargo flights flown by Aeroflot and
Volga-Dneper will continue unaffected, according to the Moscow
But for charter cargo carriers, the ban, however, temporary,
will be expensive. Russian carriers estimate they'll lose $3
million in business between now and the time they're
The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration says all charter cargo
carriers will have to be recertified, but gave no timetable. Still,
Russian companies are hopeful it won't last long.
"We believe [recertification] will take two to three months,"
said Igor Kornilov, commercial director of Atlant-Soyuz. That
company flies 14 Il-76s -- most of them cargo haulers destined for
The Chinese decision came after an Azeri-owned IL-76
crash-landed on a cattle farm just after takeoff from Urumqi,
China. All seven crewmembers aboard were killed. The same day, a
Kazakh IL-76 taking off from the same airport suffered damage to
The IL-76, a mainstay in both military and civilian aviation
across the former Soviet Union, has been involved in a number of
crashes and incidents over the past several years. But some
airlines that fly from the Commonwealth of Independent States,
successor to the Soviet Union, say they're getting a raw deal.
"Chinese officials are simply scared [to continue charter
flights], but it is their fault. They should ensure control in
their airports," said one airline official who asked not to be
identified. Russian cargo carriers say Chinese ground crews
routinely overload the IL-76s that fly into and out of China.