17:44 16.01.2014

NATO to prolong leasing of Ukrainian-Russian Ruslan An-142-100 after 2014 – source

NATO is planning to prolong the leasing of Ukrainian and Russian An-124-100 Ruslan heavy transport aircraft after 2014, as a part of the SALIS program (Strategic Airlift Interim Solution), an informed military source has told Interfax-Ukraine.

"NATO confirmed that it needs to use the Ruslan SALIS fleet after 2014. Now the parties are holding talks to continue cooperation under the program and to prolong next two-year contract for the leasing of Ukrainian and Russian Ruslan [aircraft] that was signed in December 2012," the agency's interlocutor said.

The Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan is the world's largest transport aircraft, with a 150-tonne payload. Ukraine's Antonov Airlines and Russia's Volga Dnepr are the main operators of the aircraft.

The partners joined the NATO SALIS (Strategic Airlift Interim Solution) program in 2006 to render transportation services to the alliance and the European Union.

In late 2005, the partners signed a three-year contract worth EUR 600 million to carry cargo for NATO and the EU. The contract was prolonged for more two years in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

According to the conditions of the contract, two An-124-100 aircraft are constantly based in Germany, and an extra four aircraft can be provided to the clients at their request.

Ruslan International Ltd. (RI, Stansted, Britain) is the single marketing agent of the Ukrainian and Russian aircraft operators.

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