On September 12, 2023, a Ural Airlines pilot was forced to land an Airbus A320 in a Russian wheat field after the crew became concerned the aircraft would not make it to Novosibirsk Airport (OVB) due to lack of fuel.
The story of the troubled A320 jet captured the global media’s attention, as people speculated whether the aircraft would be flown out of the field or be cut up and transported away by road.
To this day, the Ural Airlines plane remains in the field just outside Novosibirsk, in southern Siberia, protected by 24-hour private security in a fenced off area.
Since the emergency landing different stories have emerged about the plane’s fate.
One report following the incident said that the airline was waiting for the ground to harden before attempting to fly the Airbus A320 out of the field while another in November 2023 said the project was to be “mothballed” until spring 2024.
However, on January 9, 2024, a clearer insight into the true nature of the plane’s immediate future emerged following comments by the head of the Ubinsky District in Russia, Oleg Konyuk.
According to the region’s head, Ural Airlines entered into a lease agreement with the field’s owner to rent the field where the stranded jet lies for a year, and this could yet be extended for longer.
“There was a decision that the ground would freeze – they would take off. But the ground is frozen – they don’t take off. The airline entered into a lease agreement with the owner of the field for a year. And then – I don’t know what will happen, maybe they’ll conclude a contract for another year,” Konyuk said.
According to KP-Novosibirsk, the agreement currently runs until September 2024 and saw the airline paying over $11,000.
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