The founder of Russian outsize air cargo specialist Volga-Dnepr, Alexei Isaikin, is stepping down as its president and as a shareholder.

Its affiliates include AirBridgeCargo (ABC) and Atran Airlines, whose Boeing freighter fleets have been grounded since the first quarter of the year as a result of sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

While Volga Dnepr Group (VDG) has not specified the reason for Mr Isaikin’s departure, in June the UK government added him to its sanctions list, a decision likely triggered by a deal with the mayor of Moscow to restore freight routes and import and export trades.

VDG said: “After 45 years of dedicated work in the aviation industry, Volga-Dnepr Airlines founder Alexey Isaikin has decided to leave as a shareholder of the airline and hand over all executive functions to the company’s management.”

Alexei Isaikin

No information was disclosed on the disposal of Mr Isaikin’s stake in the company, nor whether a new composition of shareholders has been formed, or how, if at all, the change will affect VDG’s position with regard to western sanctions.

Contacted by The Loadstar, a VDG spokesperson declined to elaborate further on Mr Isaikin’s departure, and added: “I am afraid that we will not be able to give more comments other than those that we have sent earlier.”

According to “market sources”, quoted by Russian national state-controlled daily newspaper Kommersant, Mr Isaikin’s decision to cut ties with VDG may allow the carrier to resume work and open “ways to save part of the fleet abroad“, as well as providing scope for the group to resume negotiations with Etihad Airways on the creation of a joint-venture, which would see the transfer of most of the AirBridgeCargo fleet.

Negotiations are also said to be under way with two companies from the EAEU countries (whose member states include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia) “with a small fleet of their own and a good location”, reported Kommersant.

The paper also suggests VDG is said to have received preliminary consent from lessor BOC Aviation for the relocation of activities and further operation within the framework of new joint-ventures.

Sources added that Mr Isaikin was relinquishing all his foreign assets, which include Alpine Prosperity Foundation, Gloria 7 (Luxembourg), Volga-Dnepr Logistics (Netherlands), CargoLogic Germany and CargoLogicAir (UK). He resigned as a director of the latter in June.

Having both Russian and Cypriot citizenship, the sale of these assets may help his prospects in engaging in other business, including that abroad.

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