Russia-based Polet suspended both cargo and passenger operations, and has been placed in administration by a Moscow Arbitration Court.
The suspension of cargo operations follows a long-running legal battle with lessor Ilyushin Finance Corp (IFC) over lease payments on two An-124s. Earlier this year one of IFC’s owners, Alexander Lebedev, took Polet to court claiming the carrier owed IFC US$9 million. The two An-124s were seized and grounded, but one was later permitted to fly again, if only briefly.
In addition to its cargo woes, Polet also fell behind on payments to the operator of Voronezh Chertovitskoye Airport (VOZ), the carrier’s hub, and has now also grounded its small passenger fleet.
With Polet’s An-124s nowparked, there are only eighteen of the type left in commercial operation: ten at Volga-Dnepr Airlines, seven at Antonov Airlines, and one at Maximus Air. Polet was also the first, and only, operator of the Il-96-400T, a four-engine freighter similar in payload to the MD-11F. However all three of the carrier’s 1l-96 freighters have been parked for some time, and their fate is unclear. How unclear? Cargo Facts has been told that one of the Il-96-400T freighters formerly operated by Russia-based Polet is being converted from freighter to VIP passenger configuration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.