Ruslan International mulls relocating from UK to Germany

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Volga-Dnepr's joint venture with Antonov Airlines, Ruslan International, is considering relocating to Germany from the UK in order to cut costs.

In 2006, two major operators of An-124 freighters set up the London Stansted-based enterprise to market their outsize cargo services internationally and benefit from coordinating flight schedules and aircraft routes.

But moving Ruslan International to Germany is now being openly considered due to the perceived benefits of lower taxation and office costs.

"We've discussed this matter for some time," says Antonov Airlines executive director Konstantin Lushakov. "We're aiming to raise the efficiency of the enterprise."

A source at Volga-Dnepr indicated that Ruslan International now receives the bulk of orders for An-124 charter flights from outside the UK, mainly from Germany.

Since 2006, the partners have run a Leipzig-based joint subsidiary, Ruslan SALIS, which provides transport services within the framework of the NATO strategic airlift solution programme.

Referring to a purpose-built hangar at Leipzig/Halle airport, Antonov chief executive Dmitry Kiva says both Volga-Dnepr and Antonov Airlines could use this facility for maintaining their An-124s.