Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VI, Ulyanovsk Vostochny) reactivated the first of its ten An-124s on December 26, 2020, following a month-long grounding of the type for safety checks.

"It appears that we have been able to re-start our An-124-100 operations before the end of this year. We are in the process of the diligent execution of the service directives, the technical checks are on the right track... The ultimate return will be incremental, and we will still take our time to follow the guidelines reflected in the service directives," Chief Commercial Officer Konstantin Vekshin said in a statement.

The Russian cargo specialist grounded its entire fleet of Antonov Design Bureau quadjets in late November 2020, following an emergency landing of RA-82042 (msn 9773050455093) after an engine failure on take-off from Novosibirsk on November 13. The freighter suffered extensive damage, but no injuries were reported.

The first An-124 to restart operations following the grounding was RA-82077 (msn 9773054459151), which flew from Leipzig/Halle to Shanghai Pudong on December 26, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Volga-Dnepr Airlines operates nine An-124-100s (including the unit damaged in Novosibirsk) and a single An-124-100M. The carrier also operates five Il-76TD-90VDs. Western aircraft are operated by its sister carriers AirBridgeCargo, Atran, and CargoLogicAir.

Ukraine's Antonov Airlines (ADB, Gostomel) and Maximus Airlines (6M, Abu Dhabi Int'l), the only other commercial operators of the An-124s, did not ground their respective fleets.