The thing is that Motor Sich does not only operate the Antonov 24 but also Antonov 74, Anotnov 140 and one Yakolev 40. All as rare as the Antonov 24. I already flew the Antonov 24 with Lao Aviation back in 1996 and with Air Koryo in 2012. So I hoped they would operate any other type for the flights I booked from Kiev Zhuliany (IEV) to Zaporizhia (OZH) and from there onward to Minsk (MSQ).
IEV-OZH (12 November 2018)
After having spent some time in Kiev I took an Uber from the center to Zhuliany Airport. The small Terminal D is being used for Domestic flights . Beside the two check-in desk and a toilet there are no facilities but the main Terminal A are quite near. After boarding the bus took us to the parking bay of the aircraft where UR-MSI was ready for the flight to Zaporizhia. The flight took around one hour and was rather unspectacular, with the exception of sitting in a 45 years old aircraft. There was a small snack and a cup of tea was served.
Boarding at the Gate area.
Boarding UR-MSI for the IEV-OZH flight.
Sister ship UR-47297 departing for Odessa.
Window view while taxing.
Cabin view of UR-MSI. The plane is an Antonov An-24RV. Serial, 27307608. Line Number, 076-08. Originally delivered to Aeroflot Soviet Airlines on 19 April 1972.
Snack box for the flight from Kiev to Zaporizhia.
Arrived at OZH.
Another Antonov 24 parked at the airport.
Zaporizhia terminal building.
The flight arrived at Zaporizhia at 21:15 and the next one would leave the next morning at 6:45 only. So I booked a hotel in town. As per the hotel a taxi would cost roughly 150 UAH (5 EUR). The taxi experience there was rather unpleasant. The potential driver asked for 20 USD initially. When I insisted to 150 UAH he asked me to wait for the next flight which arrived 10 minutes later. Since I was unable to get an Uber I didn't have much choice. The driver was unsuccessful in getting another passenger and after a long wait in the cold he finally took me to the Teatralniy Hotel. The hotel offers great value for the money and the staff was friendly and extremely helpful. I ordered the taxi to go back to the airport in the early morning and enjoyed the few hours sleep.
A comfortable bed for the short night at Teatralniy Hotel.
OZH-MSQ (13 November 2018)
The taxi back to the airport at 4:45 was ready and he only asked 150 UAH. The hotel provided me a generous breakfast box which I enjoyed at the small terminal while waiting until the check-in opens.
Check-in area at Zaporizhia Airport.
Check-in area at Zaporizhia Airport - still closed.
Its here where I realised that the next flight to MSQ would not be the Antonov 74 or Yak 40 I have hoped for. Its "only" a rare Antonov 24 (UR-BXC) which is being tanked here..
Boarding UR-BXC for the flight to Belarus.
Cabin of UR-BXC on this early morning flight which was packed.
Please do not remove from cabin - Motor Sich Anotnov 24 safety instruction card.
Even though I tried to check-in online but it didn't work as I booked the Belavia code ticket. I couldn't get a window seat. The neigbor took some nice pictures and shared them with me.
Beautiful sky on the way from Ukraine to Belarus.
The cabin crew uniform is rather unique. It looks like a dress for a James Bond villain.
Onboard service was a small sandwich, a cookie and some hot tea (with lemon).
Arrived at Minsk and the "soviet airplane" experience came to an end. Even though I only flew the Antonov 24 and not the other types I still had the possibility to fly a really rare aircraft from the Soviet period. Both planes I flew, the UR-MSI and UR-BXC are 45 years old.