Antonov Airlines can trace its heritage back to May 31, 1946, when Design Bureau No. 153 was established. Today, as the international transportation division of the present-day aircraft manufacturer, Antonov Company, it holds legal status as the National Cargo Operator of Ukraine.
In March 1989, a decree from the Government of the USSR approved Antonov Design Bureau to perform international commercial cargo deliveries using one AN-124-100 – a derivative of the AN-124 military aircraft. Several months later, British-based Air Foyle Ltd was named general sales agent for Antonov’s AN-124-100 charters in Europe, North America and the Persian Gulf. The agreement was subsequently extended to cover the entire world and included an expanding fleet of AN-12 and AN-22 aircraft.