After 10 years of marketing a unique aircraft that specialized in the lifting of heavy, oversized cargo to remote areas, Ruslan International has announced that it will cease operation on Dec. 31, 2016.
Ruslan was created in 2006 as a joint venture between Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Group to market the carriers’ combined An-124-100 fleets to improve the availability of the heavy-lift aircraft. “As the operator of the world’s largest An-124 fleet, Volga-Dnepr has the full capability to continue to support all existing customer contractual obligations,” read a statement from the Volga-Dnepr Group, which will continue working with Antonov for airworthiness and flight safety support of the fleet.
“Our joint venture with Antonov Airlines has enjoyed 10 fruitful years and, during this time, we have been able to ensure our global customers have benefited from the unique operating capabilities of the An-124,” said Tatyana Arslanova, vice president of strategic management and charter cargo operations for the Volga-Dnepr Group.
Dennis Gliznoutsa, vice president, development and special projects at Volga-Dnepr, said the Russian company “gained from the end of our An-124 joint venture with HeavyLift Cargo Airlines in 2001,” adding that it “emerged from that JV stronger and now, 15 years later, we will do so again.”
For the last 27 years, the Ukraine-based Antonov Co., has been known best as the manufacturer of the An-124, operating a fleet of seven, as well as the An-124-100M-150, with a payload of up to 150 tonnes. It also operates the An-225 “Mriya,” the world’s largest aircraft, with a 250-tonne payload capacity, and the world’s largest turboprop, the An-22.