Heavylift carrier Antonov Airlines is to establish a presence in the US and Hong Kong as part of its expansion plans.
Kyiv, Ukraine-headquartered Antonov has already established an office at London Stansted Airport in the UK, and has appointed a general sales agent for Japan and Australia.
It operates a fleet of seven AN-124 freighters, with a payload of up to 150 tonnes, as well as the biggest aircraft in the world, the AN-225, with a payload of 250 tonnes.
Vice-president Oleg Orlov, said: “We are excited to be growing our presence globally in some of the world’s most dynamic economies.
“Ukraine has developed excellent links with the US as a result of an open skies Agreement, that has granted Antonov freedom to operate without the need to obtain US Department of Transport statements of authorisation.”
Antonov added that it is working with Ukrainian and western suppliers for its fleet modernisation programme.
For example, it is using Dunlop on its AN-124 and AN-225, which the AN-124-100M-150 aircraft to operate at their designed maximum payload of 150 tonnes, with a much improved lifespan.
The carrier is also working with US Honeywell for its avionics, Pratt & Whitney, Dowty Propellers, and Zodiac Aerospace in addition to other western suppliers.
“Our AN-124s will be flying for the next quarter of a century and we are making sure they are at the cutting edge of aviation technology and design,” said managing director of the airline’s UK arm, Graham Witton.