Письмо «Re: Query from The New Yorker» — Nicholas Schmidle — ...


Re: Query from The New Yorker
Nicholas Schmidle <nickschmidle@gmail.com> Кому Hi Richard, I hope this finds you well. Are you still traveling outside of Moscow? If you’re back home, any chance you could locate the magazine that describes Air Cess’ finishing second only to Lufthansa in terms of cargo shipped? And are there totals or estimates as to how much cargo (in tons) it shipped? Also, I wanted to see if you could help me be clear on the corporate lineage of Air Cess, Air Bas, and Irbis. When Viktor effectively split the company in 1998, what did put in Sergei’s name and what did he keep in his? Moreover, when was Air Bas formed? Registered in which country? And what about Irbis? Irbis is the company that was transporting for the US Government in Iraq, right? And Irbis was operated by you and Sergei? Thanks, I really appreciate your patience and help in getting this all straight. Best, Nicholas Chichakli R <chichakli@yandex.ru> 16 фев. в 18:51 почта

From: Chichakli R <chichakli@yandex.ru> Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2012 08:53:11 +0400 To: Nicholas Schmidle <nickschmidle@gmail.com> Subject: Re: Query from The New Yorker
07.02.2012, 04:56, "Nicholas Schmidle" <nickschmidle@gmail.com>: Thanks Richard! This is great. Did Viktor come alone? He spoke English I assume? Any further recollections? What he was wearing? Body language? Was he serious? Quick with a joke? What do you recall about his personality?
Victor came to the meeting with the Free Zone Authority - that is my team and I in a team of 5 people - 3 male 2 female. He was well dressed and he spoke little English, one of the female was the translator. His project preliminaries were initially assessed to be serious enough to be granted consideration, the meeting is the next step in the licensing process and it meant to discuss the project outlines and get a feel of the applicant's grasp of the undertaking. The free zone team is headed by me and included the director of operation, marketing, administration, and finance - each had certain qualifications that need to be met by the applicant in order to fulfill the free zone operational objective which I had predefined in accordance with the government overall objectives. Victor was seen as a charmer with outgoing personality; he always had a smile on his face, never confrontational, and always very polite. It was also obvious that he did not possess any significant business background nor the advanced business and management skills that would help the project to succeed; however, Victor had good experience in the air cargo business and reasonable success in his existing business at that time which was Transavia Travel. Victor was also confident that he will be able to get the right people to meet the management skills requirements stipulated by the free zone authority.

What was his project? And how did he have to adapt to meet the requirements of the free zone? In other words, how did his business had to change to be admitted to the free zone?
The project victor established in the Free Zone was Aircess Aviation. The adaptation he needed to do include adding certain positions to the management structure to meet requirements for aviation licensing, in addition to change certain financial parameters from those suggested in his business plan to meet particular licensing criteria.

He was living in Dubai then, right?

No that is incorrect. Victor was not living in Dubai, nor had he ever. He always lived in Sharjah.

The other five air cargo operators there at the time with the Russian aircraft, were they also companies led by young Russian men? And any idea if they had also been in Sharjah since the time that Viktor started Transavia in Nov 1993? Just trying to get an idea of who, if anyone, Viktor was competing with.

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04-Mar-12 11:44 AM

Письмо «Re: Query from The New Yorker» — Nicholas Schmidle — ...


The other companies were not Russian at all. Two companies were Ukranian and one of which was a state owned. The other three were from Kazakhstan, UAE, and Kyrgyzstan. Most of the companies were run by people older than Victor, and some were government owned companies. Victor was the first Russian to start an aviation company in the free zone and was the first to start aircraft maintenance facility. For a matter of fact he repaired and painted almost all the TU aircraft owned by the National airlines of Kazakhstan. Overall, Victor was the most serious and successful operator in Sharjah in both diversification and destination; thus, exceding Lufthansa which operated a HUB in Sharjah at that time. Despite Lufthansa having th largest volume being an average of Six 747 flights per day, Victor was likely to have more than seven flights per day heading to seven different countries in comparison to Lufthansa which served on destination. as such Victor was able to achiev the second largest volume after Lufthansa, in addition to being the fastest growing airline in UAE and the largest operator between UAE and the CIS during that period of time.

Also, do you know when he arrived in Sharjah to begin with? In other words, I know he got his license in Nov 93 but wasn't sure prior to that?

I am not sure whether he was ever in the UAE prior to 1993.

And where was all the cargo heading for CIS coming from? What was it? Foodstuffs? Consumer goods?

The cargo that went to the CIS from UAE included wide spectrum of goods; from pencils to heavy machinery. Foodstuff, furniture, raw material, foodstuff, building materials, textile, garment, electronics, clothing, spare parts, automobile, boats, etc. There was not anything that was not re-exported to the CIS and almost everything that was available in the markets to consumers in Russia and neighboring countries was coming through UAE. It was booms like no other and almost every single one of the 700,000 Russian tourists came to the UAE in 1995 was indeed coming to buy stuff for resell in Russia. As to the source of cargo, it was coming from around the world; the UAE lives on Re-Export.

Thanks! You've been tremendously helpful. Best, Nicholas Sent from my iPad On Feb 6, 2012, at 7:36 PM, Chichakli R <chichakli@yandex.ru> wrote:

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