Ukraine operator eyes U.S. flights

Who would have thought that a carrier operating Antonov AN-12 freighters would look at opening flights between Kiev and the USA!
Ukraine Air Alliance, based at Kiev’s Borispol airport has made an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a so-called Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP).

On way towards U.S. soon? One of Ukraine Air Alliance’s eight An-12s  - company courtesy.
On way towards U.S. soon? One of Ukraine Air Alliance’s eight An-12s - company courtesy.

The application presented to the DOT was also for an exemption authority and the Ukrainian operator is requesting the department to look favourably at its request to operate regular flights between the Ukraine (presumably Kiev) and various points within the United States and to points beyond.

Political or economic request?
The key question is what’s behind this request for an FACP and what type of cargo does the carrier envisage flying between the Ukraine and the USA.
Could it be that they already have some sort of military contract on hand to position U.S. advisors equipment to and from the Ukraine?
The answer still remains a secret and to date it is not known how or if the U.S. DOT will react to the application.
News is however, that Ukraine Air Alliance plans to operate up to eight times per month to the USA, starting at around the end of the first quarter of 2016.
This then would be an ad-hoc operation and not be seen as regular services.

The Kiev-based airline has a total of eight AN-12s in their fleet, each capable of carrying up to 18 tons of cargo.
The aircraft in Ukraine’s fleet are also used for passenger charters in the region.
Operating to the USA from Kiev would ensure that the airline has to make an intermediate stop, as the range of the AN-12 is nowhere near that of its more modern rivals.
The AN 12 was originally built as a military transporter for the Russian forces.
A total of 1,250 aircraft were produced of which 200 were for commercial purposes. Quite a few of these old and reliable workhorses are still operating in various parts of the globe.
China still upgrades and also builds versions of the AN-12 for their own military use.

Ukraine Air looking at MD-83Fs
The carrier has recently announced that it is looking seriously at obtaining five MD-80 freighters in the near future.
It is rumoured that these aircraft would be used for inter-regional cargo distribution.
It is not clear on whose behalf Ukraine Air Alliance would operate such flights.
Maybe just some trumpet bowing on their part!

John Mc Donagh

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