Volga-Dnepr Group / Press-center / Media Coverage

Livestock demand drives AirBridge capacity growth

10/21/2009

Livestock demand drives AirBridge capacity growth RUSSIAN scheduled carrier AirBridgeCargo, is due to receive two B747-400Fs in the next six months as it transitions to an all 747-400 freighter model fleet for its scheduled operations, according to Volga-Dnepr Airline's group commercial director (charters), Dennis Gliznoutsa.

Two B747 'classic' will now be used exclusively for charter work for both ABC and Volga-Dnepr. Asked whether, in the current climate, there would be sufficient work for the two charter aircraft, Gliznoutsa was confident that the aircraft would pay their way. "There is enough work for the aircraft to be commercially viable. They will obviously be flying less hours than in scheduled service, but the ad-hoc rates will be high enough to sustain their operation." Gliznoutsa said that the aircraft would, on many occasions, sit at an airfield following a charter assignment awaiting the next job. He added the capacity will be useful for Volga as it gives an extra option for customers. "Now we have An-124s, Il-76s and B747s all assigned to charter, we can choose the best option for each particular customer," he said.

The transition to all -400 freighters for ABC's scheduled services will also have the benefit of "reducing unit costs", and provide savings on unified crew and maintenance, according to Gliznoutsa.

Despite heavy losses in the previous 12 months, Gliznoutsa is confident that ABC will show improved financial performance in the next reported figures. "There has been a huge pick-up in livestock operations into Russia." The reason for this is that the pedigree status of the breeding animals has been eroded and new stocks are needed to improve the quality. Gliznoutsa says that there will be a steady flow of livestock into the country for the next five-six years. "The flights are planned well in advance and provide a useful revenue stream."

One area that Gliznoutsa believes is being addressed is the Custom's bond for the operation of western freighters operating in Russia. "The customs bond has been lifted for passenger aircraft so it should also be lifted for freighters," he said. Gliznoutsa did concede that the Russian domestic market is one area that Polet Airlines' new Il-96s could exploit, if allocated the right routes.

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