Heavylift / Breakbulk
New situation – more business
A change is often as good as a rest to get new impulses. Antonov Airlines vice-president Oleg Orlov was optimistic about business when he spoke to Christian Doepgen at the Breakbulk Europe trade fair in Bremen.
Mr Orlov, cooperation with Volga-Dnepr and Ruslan Salis has come to an end – now Antonov Airlines has been honing its profile since the beginning of the year. How has the re-launch been coming along?
We’re currently in a completely new situation, which opens up new oppor- tunities. After the split of the joint venture, Antonov Airlines established its UK headquarters at London Stansted airport through a strategic partnership with Dreamlifts Limited. The key personnel was retained, enabling a seamless transition for our customers. Besides our general civil and defence sector activities we also have an opportunity to exclusively de- velop our partnership in the ‘Strategic airlift international solution’ (Salis).
How is business going?
After a relatively slow phase in 2016 we experienced a significant upswing in 2017, and an even better 2018 so far. We saw an 81% revenue increase in 2017 compared to 2016, whilst our January to May figures in 2018 were up by 42%. We expect this strong performance to continue throughout the rest of the year.
What is the secret of your success?
Antonov works with western suppliers for its fleet modernisation programme. As part of this programme, we’ve increased the payload of two of our AN-124 airframes from 120 to 150 t. We’ll expand this across the remaining five airframes in due course. Moreover, we’re also expanding our international presence.
Are you referring to the opening of your Houston office?
Precisely. That was a key step forward for Antonov in May. We’ve enjoyed very encouraging results since launching our US presence, and the physical opening of the Houston office will certainly strengthen our coverage of the market even further. We have great expectations. China and the Middle East are other areas that are also right at the top of our agenda.
Are you talking about cooperation on the construction of the Antonov AN-225?
This has been discussed, but our focus has recently been on appointing a GSA that would represent us in the Chinese market. We had to prepare the ground with negotiations that lasted almost a year, but now the joint conditions have been established and we can make an announcement soon.
What changes have you made to your internal processes?
We have to be ready for takeoff every hour! We’ve introduced a system with three shifts in our aircraft overhaul processes, for example. This enables us to return an aircraft to action in two to three weeks, instead of six to nine weeks. It’s important that our more than 1,500 employees provide our customers with the best possible services.