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Ex-Soviet colonel can keep flying his jumbo jets to Britain

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 02/03/2022 Oliver Gill
Cargologicair - PA © PA Cargologicair - PA

A cargo airline owned by a former Soviet military colonel and one-time ally of Vladimir Putin is free to fly its jumbo jets into the UK, The Telegraph can reveal.

CargoLogicAir, which claims to be the only "British all-cargo airline”, is unaffected by sanctions on Russia because its owner, Alexey Isaikin, is a Cypriot citizen.

Mr Isaikin, the founder of air freight giant Volga-Dnepr Group, has previously worked alongside Mr Putin to further Russia’s international aviation growth ambitions.

CargoLogicAir, which flew PPE into Britain for the health service at the height of the pandemic, lays claim to being the “Great British Cargo Airline” on its website.

The UK has banned all Russian flights, including private jets and state-owned carrier Aeroflot, from entering UK airspace. The ban means that no aircraft owned, chartered or operated by a person connected to Russia or that is registered with Russia can take off or land in Britain or enter UK airspace.

Boris Johnson said on Tuesday: “There is no place for dirty money in the UK. We are going faster and harder to tear back the façade that those supporting Putin’s campaign of destruction have been hiding behind for so long.

“Those backing Putin have been put on notice: there will be nowhere to hide your ill-gotten gains.”

Mr Isaikin has ties to Mr Putin stretching back nearly two decades. In 2003 he appeared alongside the Russian leader as the only representative of the Russian aerospace community taking part in the official negotiations for a state visit to Britain.

Video: Russia bans UK flights over its air space in retaliation to British sanctions (Manchester Evening News)


At the time, Volga-Dnepr hailed the “significant potential” of doing business in the UK.

Mr Isaikin said in 2003: "We have proved that one can do business with Russians and our clients' trust is our main capital. This is the asset that allowed Volga-Dnepr to become the number one in its segment of the world transportation market.”

Mr Isaikin formed Russia’s first private airline in 1990 and the country's first cargo carrier in 2007, according to the International Air Cargo Association, which inducted him into its hall of fame in 2016. 

But Nadeem Sultan, the cargo airline's chief executive, insisted that CargoLogicAir had no links to Russia.

“CargoLogicAir is not Russian-owned,” he said. “We are a 100pc European-owned company.”

Mr Sultan said CargoLogicAir had a historical “commercial relationship” with another airline in the Volga-Dnepr Group called AirBridgeCargo. He denied that CargoLogicAir was owned by a Russian company or individual.

Mr Isaikin resides in Cyprus and is of Cypriot nationality, according to Companies House.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “CargoLogicAir is a UK-registered airline. The Department will investigate any potential breaches of the NOTAM [global aviation notice] banning all Russian-owned aircraft if we have information which suggests this could be the case.”

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