Who is Victor Bout
Victor Bout is the typical and ideal picture of the new generation of Russian businessmen. He is dynamic, charismatic, spontaneous, well-dressed, well-spoken, and highly energetic. Victor can easily communicate in several languages including Russian, Portuguese, English, French, Arabic, among several others. He is a born-salesman with undying love for aviation, and eternal drive to succeed.
Victor was born in the Soviet Union, the city of Dushanbe, in an average home and an average family. His father and mother were both employees in the administrative and accounting fields respectively. Victor went to schools in Dushanbe where his parents were employed, prior to returning to Moscow. There he was drafted to do the mandatory military service as a translator serving in the Soviet Union and abroad, and that was how he was introduced to Africa.
Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union Victor decided to leave the military service and start his own aviation business, the field he was always fascinated by. And with some help from his family and his wife, Victor was able to purchase four Antonov-8 cargo aircraft which became the core and starting point of his fleet and his business.
Venturing into Africa was a matter of necessity rather than choice. Victor who had already invested all he had into the purchase of the An-8 had no other choice but to operate in Africa, and particularly, Angola which was the first and only country to grant a certificate for civilian operations to the Antonov-8 which was only certified as military freighter until then. Pictured here is one of the AN-8 that started the fleet of Aircess.
The AN-8 investment was proven to be the best investment that has ever been done by Victor Bout given the tremendous amount of profit he realized from operating these aircraft, and given that he enjoyed no competition whatsoever for being the only cargo operator in that part of Africa for 18 months. The low cost of acquisition of aircraft and the required crew, in addition to the availability of 4 aircraft which is more than any other operator would have in that part of the world, provided Victor with unparalleled competitive advantage in both price and available capacity. And until the demise of his operations in Africa there was no single operator, subsidized by a government or not that could compete with the prices offered by Victor Bout.
Nonetheless, taking into account that the cargo that was carried on Victor's airplanes used to be carried by someone else at considerably higher rates, Victor's operation was turning the competitors and previous operators in Angola into bitter enemies as fast as it was turning revenues, and that was the major reason behind the unified efforts to drive him out of Africa.
As to the arms trafficking stories, it does not require plenty of brain to see that at any given time, there was not enough weapons to be transported that can fill Victors' fleet or generate enough revenue to pay the hundreds of employees and facilities. The arms trafficking stories were nothing more than a cause to get Victor Bout out of Africa and destroy his company so that the old "aviation club" led by European operators can get back the market share and business lost to Victor Bout's Aircess.
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