Oversized cargo payloads are Antonov Airlines’ main expertise and focus and in 2017 business has been consistent since it went it alone.
The decade-long Ruslan International joint venture between the Antonov Company and Volga-Dnepr Group came to a close on 31 December 2016 and since then Antonov’s sales and marketing has been handled by Dreamlifts Ltd at London Stansted Airport.
Business development director, Michael Goodisman (pictured below) says it is happy with how it has gone, noting it has operated just above 20 flights a month in 2017, excluding flights performed under the Antotov Salis contract.
Goodisman says the switch has opened up more opportunities: “This has given us the opportunity to develop a lot. There is a lot of clarity in the market now and if we are presenting ourselves it gives us a lot of opportunities to show what we can offer and the unique points.”
He explains the strongest sector is defence and aerospace, which continues to grow and makes up a significant amount of business., and across the board in all sectors demand is mainly coming from the Middle East, Africa and Asia and are these are mainly from Europe and the US to these regions.
He says: “In terms of aerospace it is quite consistent and demand there continues and we see projects in the pipeline there for the long-term.
“O&G is dependent on oil production and it developing and we are seeing a little increase on that and have just secured four long-range flights, which is good.”
Antonov has seen consistent demand for power generators, rotas, compressors and rotors and business is being boosted by the uptick in general air cargo. “Predicting the market is difficult, but there is a relationship with general cargo and project cargo and we have seen an uptake in some sectors (automotive and industrial),” he says.
A major part of the strategy moving forward is to grow the presence of Antonov in global markets and it is to open new offices in Hong Kong and the US and to drive this it appointed general sales agents (GSA) in Japan, India and Australia and more could follow.
It has also developed links in the US and has been granted an operators certificate so it can fly more freely. Goodisman says: “It is necessary to grow our presence and to have a strong competitive ability and we have to have some local offices in markets. If we only have Hong Kong and the US it will help in terms of timezones.
“There are certain things we are doing to work on that and then we can work with brokers, freight forwarders and where possible try to be a little bit more local, which is what we are doing with our GSAs.
“In certain markets we feel there is strong potential and we want to be well positioned and proactively develop our business. Overall, we are in a good position.”