Kiev - The Ukrainian state-owned aerospace company Antonov announced that it extended lease term of the two AN-124 heavy transport aircraft as part of NATO's SALIS program.
Antonov stated that the SALIS (Strategic Airlift International Solution) contract was extended to 31 December 2021 for a period of three years.
NATO's SALIS program enables the countries involved in the NATO alliance to use leased AN-124s to carry out heavy transport operations such as forces and military equipment.
In this way, member countries of the alliance gain the ability to move their forces and equipment quickly.
On the other hand, Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines announced that it would terminate its contract with NATO on military cargo shipments after 2018, citing the sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S. and its allies.
Volga-Dnepr contributed to NATO's SALIS program with six An-124 aircraft. Withdrawal of the Russian company from the contract leaves only two An-124 for the use of member countries. It is not clear yet how the shortfall will be covered.