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Hall of Fame 2016 - Alexey Isaikin

Alexey Isaikin

Born in the Kyrgyz Republic of the former Soviet Union in 1952 and graduated from the Institute of Economics in Irkutsk, his career began in the Soviet Air Force and it started a love affair that continues to this day for one of the most outstanding airplanes ever built, the Antonov 124. In the late 1980s, he was responsible for the fulfilment of USSR state contracts for the delivery of An-124 military aircraft but when government orders stopped, he knew it heralded an exciting new era for the An-124 in the fledging industry for the transportation of outsize and heavyweight air cargo, and he was determined to establish this iconic freighter in the commercial market.

In 1990, he formed Russia’s first private airline and as his business grew, its customers included governments moving aid, peacekeeping forces and equipment around the world, global charities responding to natural and man-made disasters, and industrial giants in sectors such as aerospace, oil and gas, and energy and power.

As well as building the world’s largest commercial fleet of An-124 freighters, he recognised the need to offer customers a lower cost but equally capable alternative for their smaller cargo requirements. The answer was the IL-76. When ICAO banned old versions of the IL-76 in 2000 for failing to meet global noise and emissions standards, its future looked doomed but he promised to support the modernisation of the aircraft to safeguard its long-term future. Today, his air charter fleet includes five of this new generation of aircraft, which was approved by ICAO to return to the global stage.

Having established an airline at the pinnacle of the international air charter market, he turned his attention to scheduled cargo. In 2004, he inspired Russia’s first international scheduled cargo airline, which began with a fleet of two Boeing 747-200Fs and a lot of ambition.

Fast forward to today and that airline is now one of the fastest-growing global cargo airlines. It has achieved 11 years of consecutive growth and now boasts a fleet of 14 modern Boeing 747 freighters, including eight of the latest generation 747-8Fs as well as B737Fs for express operations. In addition, a third airline was added to the group for B737 regional cargo operations.

Today, he leads a Group of Companies that in addition to its scheduled and charter cargo airlines also includes end-to-end engineering and logistics services for the most complex loads, aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul operations, trucking and insurance. Most recently, he has also personally invested in the creation of a new British cargo airline.

His passion for aviation and air cargo is matched only by his admiration for the people that have helped to turn his vision into reality and by his commitment that their knowledge and expertise must be captured and shared. Throughout his career and the iconic aircraft it has involved, he has never lost sight of the fact that it is people and not planes that deliver. Through investment in training, the development of skills and the opportunities that stem from consistent growth, he has helped to nurture a global team of 3,600 air cargo professionals, and complemented this with sponsorship of education programmes for young people that will one day ensure a new generation of industry leaders.

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