Almost ten years after it last operated the type, Russian air cargo carrier ATRAN has re-introduced the Antonov An-12 freighter. The move comes after the Moscow-based operator continues to face uncertainty over its Boeing 737 freighters. The Volga-Dnepr Group member currently has three -400Fs in its fleet based at Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports.
According to the airline, the first An-12, RA-11371 (c/n 00347406), returned to the skies on September 12, flying between Zhukovsky and Norilsk carrying 12 tonnes of consumer goods. The type had last flown for the airline in 2014, and before its return to service, the operator carried out six months of preparations. This included sourcing and refitting a usable airframe and training crews to meet airworthiness requirements. The operator also plans to have the four turboprop-engined transporter serving additional cities such as Anadyr, Naryan-Mar, Khatanga and Novy Urengoy.
The An-12 first flew in December 1957 and was initially used as a military transporter. With a range of 6,000km, it became the mainstay of the Soviet Union military transport aviation. It was later adopted by various cargo carriers across the globe. Production of the type ended in 1972 after 1,243 airframes, with 30 different variants, had been built.