— 264th Aviation Division for Special Purpose established in Khabarovsk.
The 264thAviation Division for Special Purpose is considered to be the ancestor of VOSTOK Aviation Company. Back then, the Aviation Division consisted of 9 aircraft represented by such types as Po-2, P-5 and S-2. The Aviation Division executed socially significant operations within Khabarovsk Region, transporting passengers from the hub to several local destinations and back, delivered mail and cargo to remote areas, performed medical emergency flights, and supported firefighting operations.
— 264thAviation Division expanded with AntonovAn-2, a multipurpose aircraft.
The Aviation Division’s aircrew was commanded to Moscow to transport the all-new aircraft to Khabarovsk. Antonov An-2surpassed Polikarpov Po-2, which was the leader in aviation during that time, with twice as much of velocity and featured closed cabin which sustained above-zero temperatures inside during the flight. New aircraft was also capable of taking onboard the maximum of 12 passengers versus as few as 2 passengers on Po-2.
— 264thAviation Division renamed to 143rdAviation and Maintenance Squadron of Far Eastern Regional Administration of Civil Aviation.
The 264th Aviation Division was refurbished with new An-2, Yak-10, and Yak-12 airplanes and renamed into the 143rd Aviation and Maintenance Squadron of Far Eastern Regional Administration of Civil Aviation. After an aerial surveillance team had joined the Aviation and Maintenance Squadron two years later, aerial photography became a new type of flight operations performed by the Squadron.
— 143rd Aviation and Maintenance Squadron began operating a new aircraft type – helicopters.
Mil Mi-1 was the first helicopter type provided to the Squadron. Pilots and technicians had to learn promptly to operate previously unknown aircraft, and more training required as the national economy’s demand for helicopters increased. The new aircraft was able to service many fields including geology, forestry, medicine, and agriculture and allowed transporting cargo using external load sling system.
—249thHelicopter Division formed.
The demand for helicopters in the Russian Far East continued to increase. The Ministry of Civil Aviation decided to establish a Domestic Airport-based head office in Khabarovsk that would manage the utilization of all available helicopters. As a result, the 249thHelicopter Division was created, having at its disposal as many as 12 helicopters.
— 2ndUnited Aviation Unit of Khabarovsk formed.
The 2nd United Aviation Unit of Khabarovsk brought together all aircraft operating in Domestic Airport of Khabarovsk, including the143rd Aviation and Maintenance Squadron and 249th Helicopter Division. At that time Domestic Airport transported passengers to 27 towns and settlements of Khabarovsk Region as well as to several destinations in adjacent territories.
— The first airplane hangar built.
The first airplane hangar was built out of a wooden house. Previously, all aircraft were maintained under the open-air conditions.
—? The Aviation Unit expanded with Mi-8 helicopter type.
In the late 60’s, Mi-2, Mi-6 and Mi-8 types equipped with gas turbine engines began to replace outdated Mi-1 and Mi-4 types. Mi-8 still remains the most popular aircraft around the world, though it has undergone numerous modifications since its first days. The Aviation Unit exclusively owned heavy-lift helicopters in the Far East, performing various flight operations and servicing oil companies on Sakhalin Territory, Kamchatka Peninsula, Kuril Islands, Primorye, and Tyumen Region.
— A brand-new airport terminal setup.
The new airport terminal improved quality of the passenger service. The airport territory was enhanced with a fence, security towers, repaired landing strip, and an aircraft parking spot.
— Flight operations on the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) began.
The Aviation Unit started to service the needs of the Baikal-Amur Mainline. Helicopters transported dwelling homes, cargo and fuel to the distant regions of the BAM. During the entire construction period, over 27 thousand tones of various cargos were delivered there. Honoring its formidable performance, the Aviation Unit’s crew was promoted on the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh).
— The Aviation Unit received its first foreign-made airplane.
The new aircraft was Czechoslovak’s Let L-410. It was certified and approved for operations by “Aeroflot”, becoming the first airplane to operate on domestic airlines in the USSR. At that time the airplane of L-410 type was the best passenger aircraft for domestic airlines.
The same year, the landing strip was reconstructed to reach 970 meters in length.
— VOSTOK Aviation Company officially emerged.
Following the USSR collapse, the 2nd United Aviation Unit of Khabarovsk went public and transformed into VOSTOK Aviation Company, JSC, taking over the control of the Domestic Airport and several smaller airports in Khabarovsk Region. The newly formed company expanded its aircraft line and renewed aviation equipment. Structural changes followed and new departments created within the organization.
In early 90’s the Company started getting its first international experience when they performed flight operations on light airplanes An-2 and helicopters Mi-2 in Columbia.
—Early international experience.
In 1995 VOSTOK Aviation Company set out its operations in Malaysia where the company’s Mi-26 and Mi-8MTV-1 helicopters were engaged in helicopter logging and An-28 airplanes transported tourists. The company’s crew was recognized as high-skilled professionals, allowing an extension of the service agreement until 2002.
— «Sakhalin-1» project and all-new airplanes.
In March, VOSTOK Aviation Company won a tender to provide aviation services during«Sakhalin-1»project of Exxon Neftegaz Limited. For about 10 years, Mi-8MTV-1helicopters were used to transport equipment and personnel to an offshore drilling platform near Sakhalin Island.
In October, VOSTOK Aviation Company became the first company in Russia to buy several AntonovAn-38-100 airplanes. The main features of newly bought aircraft were reduced noise level in the cabin, enhanced heat insulation, increased velocity, and the ability to switch quickly from passenger to cargo configuration.
— Operations in Southeast Asia.
VOSTOK Aviation Company began its operations in East Timor. Beside passenger, cargo and VIP transportation, the company’s Mi-8MTV-1helicopters were required to perform search and rescue operations and flights with suspended load using an external sling system.
— Vostok Aviation began to perform transport services for a gold mining company in the Magadan Region.
Vostok Aviation Company began to provide passenger and cargo transportation services for Omolonsk gold-mining company in the gold field “Kubaka”. The field is located in the remotest depth of the taiga territory of the Magadan Region – almost 1000 km far from Magadan itself, therefore the use of small aircraft is the best way to get there.
— Caribbean expansion .
VOSTOK Aviation Company started to provide services in Haiti and Dominican Republic. The services performed by VOSTOK Aviation Company there included transportation of various contingent (including military and VIP flights), supplies of humanitarian aid cargo, medical evacuation, SAR operations, and others. Due to the lack of ground transportation networks, the aircraft of VOSTOK Aviation Company remain the primary means of transportation to remote areas in these countries.
— The company’s HQ renovated.
The airport terminal was redesigned to keep up with modern standards. Today the terminal is a modern building including a ticket office, waiting room, left-baggage office, medical facility and police station. The company also had a major repair of its own dining room, small hotel, hairdressing salon, health and fitness center, sauna, and gym, which are working for the company’s employees and citizens of Khabarovsk.
— Registration in World Food Program.
VOSTOK Aviation Company successfully went through the qualification audit of World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, and became its official aviation service supplier. The organization requires its contractors to constantly stay in touch and provide an immediate response to their requests for offers, even when contractors are not going to participate in a particular project
—A monument to Antonov An-2 raised.
The An-2 airplane monument was setup in Domestic Airport of Khabarovsk in October 2009 to commemorate the aircraft’s continuous popularity and long years in service. Being nicknamed a «maize worker», Antonov An-2 is a light utility/agricultural fixed wing aircraft designed in 1946 in USSR and intensively used thereafter for the needs of national economy. The production of An-2 stopped in 2002, making it the longest production run for any general-purpose aircraft ever produced. Today it is being used mostly in private general aviation..