Volga-Dnepr Group / Press-center / Media Coverage

Head-on encounter. Russia and Ukraine aircraft manufacturers intend to join efforts


Despite recent certain disagreements between Russia and Ukraine, aircraft manufacturers of the two countries, having close ties since as early as Soviet time, firmly intend to undertake several more major joint projects. Among the most perspective is Resumed Production of AN-124 Ruslan freighter, consistently supported by Dmitri Kiva, General Designer of Antonov DB, who was interviewed by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.


Dmitri Kiva, General Designer, Antonov DB, Kiev. Ardent supporter of retaining Ukraine national aircraft building industry and cooperation with Russia. Before his appointment as Antonov General Designer in January 2006, Mr. Kiva had proactively participated in bilateral Russia/Ukraine negotiations and meetings at various levels as a result of which he managed to convince the Russian partners to cooperate with Ukraine. The general approach used by Mr. Kiva regarding interests of the national aircraft-building industry and partnership projects, makes him a truly prominent figure: he is not among those many who just understand the aircraft-building market can and must gain momentum, but among those few who take certain efforts.

RG: Dmitri Semenovich, Russia, along with USA, China and EU, with their full aircraft manufacture cycle, is amongst main competitors to Ukraine. Nevertheless, you actively support inter-state partnership idea. Why?

DK: Joint projects with Russia are the most perspective and cost=effective to us, and benefit both Ukraine aircraft-building industry and generally the state. Besides, I believe one should cooperate with competitors, adopting and using their up-to-date technologies and developments. Only this way may the Ukraine-built aircraft by competitive in the world market.

RG: Then what do you think about the perspectives of AN-124 Ruslan resumed production?

DK: Discussions on expediency of this Russia/Ukraine project lasted for several years, and ended up with the approval of cooperation. I think this is a unique solution, as the project is going to be among the most global and successful in the modern history of aircraft manufacture. AN-124-100 Ruslan is the world’s biggest freighter in production, unrivalled so far in the world’s aviation. Emergence of this freighter triggered development of a new sector in air cargo market i.e. aviation industry logistics. This sector has had 8 to 10 percent annual growth, while by 2030, experts believe, the market will need 50 more AN-124.

Thus, successful implementation of the project will open new perspectives, and provide for better presence of Russia and Ukraine companies in International air cargo market.

For your information: Antonov AN-124 Ruslan freighter was developed in USSR in late 1970s. The maiden flight was performed in 1982. Over 500 companies all over the Soviet Union were engaged in the manufacture of the aircraft. Serial production of the airplane was performed at Ulyanovsk-based joint-stock Aviastar-SP factory and Kiev-based Aviant State factory.

RG: In Russia, Volga-Dnepr Group, with its world’s biggest fleet of ten freighters, has been an initiator of the project. How did it all started with this partner?

DK: Volga-Dnepr Group management represented by Alexey Isaikin its President, and Antonov DB management were founders of the project, which started in 2003 at MAKS-2003 Aair Show, Moscow. In 2004-2005, the project’s business plan developed with active promotion of Volga-Dnepr Group.

In October 2006, with the support by Volga-Dnepr, a meeting regarding establishment of the project’s managing company took place at the Federal Industry Agency. The negotiated issues were project participation format, including from the point of both countries’ legislations. Recently, mostly owing to Alexey Isaikin’s efforts, a decision was taken to establish Antonov DB representative office at Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP factory.

Among main objectives of the affiliate will be incorporation of revisions in AN-124 type design, and development, in cooperation with Avistar-SP, of new versions of AN-124 freighter. These objectives will require continuous interaction between the designer and the manufacturer. Thanks to Volga-Dnepr, we were successful in establishing such relationships.

RG: What. In your opinion, are further prospects of aviation industry integration?

DK: To date, all market players have recognized the imminence of the industry’s integration. So dictates the global market, and to get a worthy position in the market a company must by strong.

Editor’s information: Decision on deepening cooperation between Russia and Ukraine aviation industries, and search for new cooperation areas, taken by Russia/Ukraine Inter-state Aviation Industry Cooperation Board on 10 October, confirmed the right choice strategy. AN-124 was the luckiest of the projects, as the following was stated in the minutes of the meeting: "The parties have considered expedient to continue activities aimed at establishing joint venture, a company to manage the projects of joint serial production of aircraft".

Antonov / Volga-Dnepr partnership has already brought good results, i.e. joint project with NATO. Obviously, successful projects between the two companies present good platform for further developing cooperation between Antonov DB and Volga-Dnepr Group in resumed production of AN-124 freighter. A fifteen-year cooperation experience in AN-124 transportation market which was tested by problems of Russia/Ukraine political relationships, is gives confidence in success of this a major aircraft-building projects.

«Rossiyskaya Gazeta»


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