KIEV, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian state-run aircraft producer Antonov stands ready to fully perform the airlift services contract with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) if its Russian partner withdraws from it, local media reported Thursday.
"Since the Russian company Volga-Dnepr intends to withdraw from (NATO's) Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) program, Antonov is ready to provide the full range of services to the countries participating in this program," Antonov said in a press release.
The SALIS program allows NATO member countries to pool their resources to charter special aircraft that give the alliance the capability to transport heavy cargoes across the globe by air.
Under the SALIS contract signed in 2006, Ukraine's Antonov and Russia's Volga-Dnepr jointly provide cargo planes to the participants of SALIS program.
Earlier, Russian media reported that Volga-Dnepr intends to withdraw from the deal at the end of 2018.
Antonov is capable of independently supplying the required number of transport planes for strategic airlift in the interests of NATO and the EU, Antonov said.
Antonov has nine transport planes on its commercial fleet, including the An-225 Mriya, the longest and the heaviest airplane ever built, which is capable of carrying up to 250 tons of cargo on transcontinental routes.