A Volga Dnieper Airways (VDA) Antonov 124 cargo plane on the tarmac
Photo by: Boeing
Next week U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow. This week American and Russian negotiators reportedly reached an agreement to expand the transit of U.S. materiel through Russia in support of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Not coincidentally, Russia's military chief of staff announced that the U.S. and Russian militaries had resumed direct talks that had been cancelled last year when relations chilled following the August 2008 Russo-Georgian War.
According to Russia Today, the American cargo scheduled to pass through Russian territory to Afghanistan via former Soviet Central Asia will be delivered "mostly by air". The new Russian-American transit agreement could mean more business for Russian companies that specialize in heavy airlift, like Polet and Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and for U.S. third party logistics operators (3POs) that contract with these firms.
Back in September 2007 Russia Blog published an in-depth report on the brisk U.S.-Russia trade in heavy airlift services. You can read the whole thing (and watch YouTube videos of 120 decibel-level Antonov takeoffs) here.