Russian passenger and cargo carrier Polar Airlines has experienced issues for two consecutive days with its Antonov AN-24 aircraft. On both December 8th and December 9th, the AN-24 were flying out of the carrier’s hub in Yakutsk to different locations. With limited information available, it is unknown at this time if the aircraft involved in the two incidents was the same.
The two incidents, one on December 8th and another on December 9th were reported by The Aviation Herald. Here is what we know about these occurrences. Strangely, while The Aviation Herald reported the flights as R3-223 and R3-215, FlightRadar24.com lists the flight prefixes as PI-223 and PI-225.
Flight R3-223/PI-223 on December 8th
On Tuesday, a Polar Airlines Antonov AN-24 was reported to be operating flight R3-223 from Yakutsk to Olekminsk (Russia). Onboard were 31 people.
Already en route to Olekminsk out of Yakutsk, the right-hand engine malfunctioned, prompting a return to the origin airport of Yakutsk. According to The Aviation Herald, this was reported by the crew as “a deviation from normal parameters.” The AN-24 performed a safe landing about 85 minutes after departure, and a replacement aircraft were assigned to operate the flight.
Flight R3-215/PI-215 on December 8th
On the following day, another Polar Airlines Antonov AN-24, this time operating flight R3-215 from Yakutsk to Sakkyryr (Russia), experienced an issue with its nose gear as it failed to retract.
The flight had 23 people on board and was again diverted back to Yakutsk’s airport, where it performed a safe landing.
The flight was postponed until December 11th.
Unlike most incidents Simple Flying reports on, we were unable to find out much about the airline and these incidents. Normally we would include flight path data but this was not available, nor were the aircraft registrations available. Therefore, it is uncertain if the two aircraft experiencing issues were the same. As Polar Airlines has six Antonov An-24s, it is possible that they were different.
We do know, according to CAPA, that Polar Airlines (Polyarnye Avialinii) is a government-owned domestic Russian airline. The carrier was first established in 1997 as the Batagai, Kolyma-Indigirka, Chukordakh and Tiksi sub-divisions of Aeroflot.
As of December 2016, Polar Airlines gave up control to Yakutia Airlines and has been operating as a subsidiary. The acquisition meant that Yakutia was the sole operator on certain routes in Sakha Republic region of north eastern Russia. Yakutia and Polar have since continued to operate separately but coordinate their fare policies.
Have you ever seen or traveled on a Polar Airlines flight? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Share your experience with this small Russian carrier by leaving a comment.