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MOSCOW: November 17, 2016. Volga-Dnepr Group and Kiev, Ukraine-based Antonov Airlines will end their AN-124-100 joint venture in December this year.

The two companies created UK-based Ruslan International in 2006 to develop the market for outsize and heavy lift air cargo using their respective fleets.

Dennis Gliznoutsa, Volga-Dnepr vice president Development & Special Projects, said his company was free to take commercial decisions that are in its best interests: "We have the advantage of the experience we gained from the end of our AN-124 joint venture with HeavyLift Cargo Airlines in 2001, and the subsequent growth of our outsize and heavyweight cargo business in the international market.

Ruslan International joint venture"We emerged from that JV stronger and now, 15 years later, we will do so again. We now have an even more diverse and capable product offering for our customers under our 'Cargo Supermarket' concept, which combines our growing AN-124, IL-76TD-90VD, Boeing 747 and 737 freighter fleet and logistics services," he added.

Meanwhile Antonov Airlines has set up its own replacement to Ruslan International with the launch of Dreamlifts Ltd in the UK to handle sales and operations of the company's five AN-124-100 'Ruslan' aircraft and the unique AN-225 'Mriya' airplane.

The Antonov Company, Ukraine's airplane manufacturer, founded the airline in 1989 to market the AN-124. President Oleksandr Kotsiuba said the company would continue to support the AN-124 and "looked forward  to working with the experienced and exciting team in the UK and can see a bright future going forward with our customers".

In September this year the U.S. Department of Transportation granted the heavy lift carrier broad air charter exemption for flights to and from the USA under the US−Ukraine Open Skies agreement.

According to the airline, the Antonov Company also has joint ventures with China to develop its 18-ton capacity AN-178 and the AN-225.

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