***Update 05/12/2021 @ 14:00 – Added statement from airline***
An Antonov cargo plane has overshot the end of the runway on landing earlier today. The AN-124, registered UR-82007, rolled out beyond the end of the runway surface while landing in the dark at Sao Paulo-Guarulhos. The airport was temporarily closed until the aircraft could be removed.
AN-124 overshoots runway
Throughout the pandemic, Antonov Airlines has been busy carrying vital cargo around the world as well as continuing its normal shipments. Today, an AN-124 loaded up with 99 tonnes of personal protective equipment met an unfortunate end when landing at Sao Paulo Airport in Brazil.
The aircraft took off from Paramaribo in Suriname at 00:06 this morning. Flying under flight number ADB3829, it headed south for the four-hour and 45 minute trip to Brazil. Landing at 04:49, it touched down safely but overshot the end of the runaway.
The crew were reported to be unhurt, but the plane did sustain some minor damage. Thankfully the ground was fairly firm, which enabled a push-back vehicle to successfully return the Antonov to the runway surface. The aircraft was cleared by 07:00 local time and airport operations were resumed.
#Brasil 🇧🇷🚨📢 Antonov An-124 REG- UR-82007 salió de la pista después de aterrizar en São Paulo (GRU), alrededor de las 4:50 am de hoy. Una de las pistas del aeropuerto internacional de Guarulhos estuvo cerrada hasta la retirada de la aeronave, alrededor de las 7 am (Brasilia) pic.twitter.com/fn23rCbqjS
— PatriotaCazador (@PCazador2021) May 11, 2021
UR-82007 is one of seven AN-124 aircraft in use by Antonov Airlines. It is 34.9 years old, and has been busy flying cargo throughout the pandemic. Data from RadarBox.com shows it has spent much time at Almaty, Leipzig Halle, Anchorage and Kuwait in the past few months, although this seems to be its first flight to Sao Paulo this year.
In April alone, UR-82007 undertook 24 flights covering a distance of more than 39,000 miles. Based in Ukraine, Antonov Airlines was the first operator to offer the An-124-100 to the commercial market, and remains the world’s only operator of the gigantic AN-225 Mriya aircraft.
Antonov Airlines released a statement regarding the incident on the following day, which said:
Yesterday, 11th May 2021, at approximately 5:15am, local time, an Antonov Airlines AN-124-100M overran the runway after landing on runway 09L at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), Brazil. The nose landing gear rolled out from the paved surface of the runway by approximately six metres. The main landing gear remained on the runway.
A push-back to the runway was requested once all required safety and inspection checks had been concluded.
There were no injuries to the crew on board, there was no damage to the 99 tonnes of Personal Protective Equipment cargo, no damage to the runway, and no damage to the aircraft.
The captain is highly experienced and acted in line with his training to handle the situation.
In accordance with the airline’s Safety Management procedures, all involved parties have been informed.
The airline, in close cooperation with Brazilian Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center (CENIPA), is performing an investigation of this incident.
Preliminary findings show the incident was caused by changeable weather conditions, which made it possible to safely carry out the flight, but in the second half of the run along the runway, the plane entered heavy fog, which affected the timely taxiing of the plane from the runway.
The aircraft has since been cleared to fly following all relevant inspections and safety checks performed.
A tricky few months
The AN-124 has had a challenging time in the past few months. An uncontained engine failure on one of the type, operated by Volga Dnepr, led to an emergency landing and a runway excursion, causing the landing gear to snap and the giant aircraft to end up nose down in the snow.
As a result of this, Volga Dnepr took the decision to ground its entire fleet of AN-124s, 12 aircraft in all, while the airline undertook inspections. With Christmas fast approaching, Antonov Airlines was pushed to re-activate the AN-225 Mryia to fill the void left by the Volga-Dnepr fleet.
Antonov Airlines never grounded its fleet, but continued to press on with fulfilling vital delivery missions. This saw it carrying a huge 54-tonne generator from Ghana to India, and flying mining equipment to Brazil from Australia.
Today’s incident is unrelated to the previous engine failure of the type. The cause of the excursion is unknown at this time, although the Aviation Herald states that Brazil’s Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center (CENIPA) is investigating the incident.