Ukraine, NATO to continue cooperation under SALIS program
Ukraine and NATO will continue cooperation under the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) program that is meant for carrying out strategic freight flights in favor of NATO and EU member states.
A respective contract on the use of An-124-100 Ruslan heavy transport aircraft of Antonov Airlines under the SALIS program has been extended for another three years until December 31, 2021, the press service of the Antonov State Company has said.
"In accordance with the contractual obligations, starting from January 1, 2019, the Antonov State Company provides two An-24-100 Ruslan aircraft on a regular basis to carry out air transportation flights in favor of the SALIS program participants," the press service said.
The Antonov State Company is the leading Ukrainian developer and manufacturer of aircraft. Since 2015, by a decision of the government, it has been part of the Ukroboronprom state concern.
Antonov Airlines is a structural division of Antonov State Company, one of the world's leading operators of the An 124-100 Ruslan heavy transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 150 tonnes. It has been providing services under the SALIS program since 2006. In December 2014, together with Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the contract with NATO was extended until the end of 2016. According to Antonov, in 2016, due to the new geopolitical situation, the Ukrainian operator of the An-124-100 Ruslan heavy transport aircraft stopped cooperating with Volga-Dnepr and since then has operated on the air cargo market independently, including flights under NATO's SALIS program.
According to information from the company, at present Antonov Airlines's fleet includes seven An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft with a carrying capacity of 150 tonnes each, an An-22 Antey aircraft with a carrying capacity of 60 tonnes, and the An-225 Mriya super transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 250 tonnes.