It was in August 2011, then-President Dmitri Medvedev said enough is enough and ordered all An-24 planes out of traffic by year-end. Medvedev’s order was given after the latest crash near Tomsk in Siberia.
Today, more than a year after the planes should have been taken out of passenger traffic, Arkhangelsk-based Nordavia continues to use the aircraft on its routes to Murmansk, Tromsø, Kotlas, Amderma and Usinsk.
An-24 has been flying the route Arkhangelsk-Murmansk-Tromsø since the early 90ties and is considered to be the main bridge-builder transport means in the Norwegian-Russian cooperation in the north. Until some few years ago, the aircraft was also flying from Murmansk to Rovaniemi and Luleå.
Over the first years, the An-24 planes on the routes were operated by Aeroflot, and then under the company name Arkhangelsk Airlines, then re-named Aeroflot Nord before it in 2009 was named Nordavia. Altrough the company has changed its names and ownership many times, it has always been the same aircrafts. They are just re-painted with new logos and colors now and then.
In 2011 Nordavia was bought by Norilsk-Nickel and it will likely be merged with existing Taimyr airlines, also known as Nordstar Airlines.
Oleg Usmanov, director of Nordavia told Vesti Pomorie shortly after the August-2011 order was given by Medvedev that the aircraft is one of the safest worldwide.
“But it is out-of-date. Yes, it is reliable and safe, but it should be exploited in a proper manner. Moreover, the aircraft is not recognized by a modern passenger, which is the most important criterion for us,” Oleg Usmanov then said.
Today, Nordavia does not mention the An-24 among the company’s aircrafts listed on the official portal. Here, only the 13 Boeing 737 appears.
If searching tickets, however, you will see that the old propeller is still scheduled for flights for the winter season until March 29, twice a week between Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Tromsø. After BarentsObserver wrote about Nordavia’s continued use of the aircraft after January 1 2012, the company issued a press-release saying its safety is not being compromised by continuing to operate the old An-24 propeller on the route to Tromsø in northern Norway.
The first An-24 took off in 1959. There have been 136 hull-loss accidents with the aircraft with a total of 1,966 fatalities according to Wikipedia.
A step-by-step increase up to SEK 5,5 billion will be added to the annual defense budget following the Ukraine crisis. The cash will partly come by cutting spending on environment and nuclear safety cooperation with Russia.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.
“Young journalists are the future of cross border communication in the North. We feel it is important to give them a possibility to network and learn about new media”, says Virpi Komulainen, project coordinator of the Barents Mediasphere.