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Volga-Dnepr Airlines Does Not Renew Salis

Volga-Dnepr; SALIS; An-124

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#1 Panzermann

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 1816 PM

surprising and unexpected
 

15. April 2018

Breaking News – Volga-Dnepr Steps Out of SALIS



The Moscow headquartered transport company, best known for their fleet of mighty AN-124 freighters, have decided to terminate their Ruslan Salis commitment. By quitting the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution contract, they no longer carry any military equipment or humanitarian goods on behalf of most NATO and EU states as has been the case since the inception of Leipzig, Germany-based Salis in 2006. But the decision could be part of a big poker game between the Russian capacity provider and western countries.

Volga-Dnepr’s decision to quit SALIS doesn’t come unexpectedly, seen against the background of increasing tensions between Russia and western countries over Syria and other conflicting issues. In a message sent to the SALIS steering Board on 12 April, Volga-Dnepr Airlines has announced their intention to exit the deal. In spite of intense negotiations following the company’s SALIS notification, their contractual western partners could not motivate them to abandon their planned exit.

Various reasons

Officially, Volga-Dnepr told their counterparts that a decision had been taken by their headquarters to no longer carry any military equipment but focus on transporting civilian, humanitarian and commercial goods instead for which their western public clients have little demand.
During the SALIS negotiations, the carrier’s management indicated that its decision is also based on the 2017 signed Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which imposed new sanctions on North Korea, Russia and Iran. Further the V-D side pointed out that the U.S. Transportation Command, awarding special airlift missions on behalf of the Washington administration had ended their relationship with Volga-Dnepr in 2015, despite roughly 13,000 flights operated by the Russian company for U.S. Transcom between 2002 and 2014 to the satisfaction of the client.

Optional transport solutions are not in sight
 
After Volga-Dnepr’s SALIS exit, the uplift capacity of large aircraft NATO and EU can make use of is sharply reduced, from 2,300 hours per year to 900h, guaranteed by the AN-124F fleet of Ukrainian operator Antonov Airlines. How SALIS will compensate the loss of V-D capacity for maintaining the strategic global transport tasks asked for by EU and NATO has not been answered so far, since western-built large freighters are not fit for operating at airports that do not provide adequate loading and unloading equipment. It also remains to be seen what the future of Volga-Dnepr’s Leipzig, Germany-based large maintenance facility will be or if it has any perspective at all.



Isaikin’s move
 
This puts the western states under massive pressure. Because no supplier in a NATO or EU country operates cargo aircraft that are equipped with own hydraulic loading systems as are the AN-124s which – in contrast to Boeing or Airbus freighters - enables them to serve remote airports without modern technical equipment.
A situation that Volga Dnepr boss Alexey Isaikin is well aware of. Supported by the Saxon state’s government he has been endeavoring to strengthen his group’s position at Leipzig-Halle for quite some time. At first glance, V-D’s Salis exit seems to contradict this airm. However, when taking a second look, many aspects speak in favor of a tactical decision. In particular it is Isaikin’s plan to apply for a German AOC, to base an own cargo airline at LEJ. A job, recently entrusted to Ulrich Ogiermann, the former Cargo Chief of Qatar Airways and Cargolux (CargoForwarder Global, 14 April).
Once the AOC request is okayed by the German regulator Luftfahrt-Bundesamt, Volga-Dnepr's AN-124s could return to Leipzig and resume traffic for NATO and European countries in the name of the new company registered under German law. Also, they would then no longer be affected by the boycott of spare parts of the Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov, because a Germany licensed carrier operating AN-124s will hardly be cut off of technical supplies by the Ukrainians.
The outcome of this game of poker between the Russian freight airline and their NATO / EU counterparts remains to be seen.

Heiner Siegmund

https://www.cargofor...s-out-of-salis/

 

 

 

 


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#2 Colin

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 1845 PM

Canada should have bought 3 more C-17's and acted as NATO's non-US transport arm


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#3 JW Collins

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 1949 PM

C-17 production line is shut down now right?
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#4 Colin

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 2350 PM

yes, I suspect it could be re-started easier than they say it would. But likely the number of confirmed orders would have to be in the 12-15 


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#5 BansheeOne

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 0342 AM

The problem is that the C-17 might cover part of the raw mass in airlift capabilities left open by a withdrawal of Volga-Dnepr, but not the large oversize load bit. For example, Germany decided against getting a small number of them in part because you would still need to partially disassemble a CH-53 to fit it in, just a little less so than for an A400M. It's the old problem, airlifters tend to cube out before grossing out. The only Western equivalent to the An-124 remains the C-5, and production has of course long ceased.

 

I'll allow that more C-17s might permit Antonov Airline's remaining 40 percent flight hour capacity to concentrate on the oversize sector though. I guess that capacity could also be increased - at a price, since you would ask Antonov to provide more flight hours at the expense of their civilian business. They have seven An-124s (plus one An-225) to Volga-Dnepr's twelve, and SALIS calls for two aircraft being available immediately as well as four more on priority call for availability inside nine days. You do the math.


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#6 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 0356 AM

I wonder if reactivating the production line of the AN-174 would be viable? The Russians were going to order an AN-174M IIRC, before recent unpleasantness in the Ukraine and Crimea put paid to that. Of course you, need a launch customer willing to take a punt and lay down the money to make it remotely viable. There is probably only 2 of those, and they are probably happy enough using old DC8's and DC10s.
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#7 Chris Werb

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 0554 AM

Stuart.

http://www.airliners...ic.php?t=542849
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#8 Chris Werb

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 0556 AM

Canada should have bought 3 more C-17's and acted as NATO's non-US transport arm


Your location might have mitigated against that.
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#9 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 0632 AM

Thanks Chris, thats interesting.

 

Im surprised there was no takeup on it. I would guess the high cost is down to the STOL capability, which probably has no utility in bulk cargo operation. I can see there would be plenty of IL76 and An174s, but they arent exactly getting newer.

 

I wonder if Airbus has considered pushing the A400 for the commercial market?


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#10 Andreas

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 1805 PM

yes, I suspect it could be re-started easier than they say it would. But likely the number of confirmed orders would have to be in the 12-15 

 

There's no way that's worth it. RAND estimated restart cost at no less than 2bn with an upper range of 3.3bn USD in 2012

 

https://www.rand.org...RAND_TR1143.pdf

 

Multiply your minimum order suggestion by 10 and you maybe getting into the ballpark.

 

All the best

 

Andreas


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#11 Andreas

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 1807 PM

I wonder if Airbus has considered pushing the A400 for the commercial market?

 

I understand the A400M has a civil aviation permit. Just cannot see anyone buying one off the factory line, but maybe in 10-20 years there could be takers for planes retired by air forces.

 

All the best

 

Andreas


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#12 Colin

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 2302 PM

 

Canada should have bought 3 more C-17's and acted as NATO's non-US transport arm


Your location might have mitigated against that.

 

For our Liberal government the C-17's are a godspend, because they allow us to contribute to missions without putting troops on the ground and the political risks that go with that. the previous government bought the C-17's, C-130J's, Chinooks and was planning on buying the 2 Mistrals. Clearly they saw that Canada would make a useful non-US logistical support arm for NATO/UN missions. It actually makes sense.


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#13 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 0211 AM

 

I wonder if Airbus has considered pushing the A400 for the commercial market?

 

I understand the A400M has a civil aviation permit. Just cannot see anyone buying one off the factory line, but maybe in 10-20 years there could be takers for planes retired by air forces.

 

All the best

 

Andreas

 

 

Well it happened with the Shorts Belfasts after a defence review, so maybe a bit quicker than that if we are unlucky. :( I take point though, a purpose built freighter, unless its based on an airliner, is not exactly going to fly off the peg.


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#14 Panzermann

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 1014 AM

 

 

I wonder if Airbus has considered pushing the A400 for the commercial market?

 

I understand the A400M has a civil aviation permit. Just cannot see anyone buying one off the factory line, but maybe in 10-20 years there could be takers for planes retired by air forces.

 

All the best

 

Andreas

 

 

Well it happened with the Shorts Belfasts after a defence review, so maybe a bit quicker than that if we are unlucky. :( I take point though, a purpose built freighter, unless its based on an airliner, is not exactly going to fly off the peg.

 

 

 

To make a civilian sale viable I think it would have to be a civilian built ro-ro freighter, that is then also used by the military.


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#15 DB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 0513 AM

A-380F rebirth!
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#16 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 0515 AM

Mega-Guppy! :D


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#17 Andreas

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 0525 AM

A-380F rebirth!

 

Nope. They need the middle deck for stability, cockpit's in the way, so no path to get oversized kit in.

 

The only people A380F would have worked for are UPS/FedEx.

 

All the best

 

Andreas


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#18 DB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 0526 AM

It was a joke.
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#19 beans4

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 0851 AM

There are a bunch of C-5As sitting in the desert that weren't upgraded to C-5M.  But I suspect a way will be found to keep all of the An-124s flying and generating income.


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#20 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 0910 AM

The problem with a C5 reboot is, remarkable aircraft though it is (Ive memories in standing in the cathedral like hall of one at the 1980 Greenham common show) I dont think it would be very profitable for a cargo alrline unless they were continually maxing it out. That it was called Fred, short for Fucking Ridiculous Expensive Disaster, suggests to me that large chunks of the USAF were not entirely enthused with them and would probably have preferred more C141.

 

Bloody amazing bit of kit though.


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