Volga-Dnepr Group / Press-center / Media Coverage

Strong expansion trajectory

08/03/2007

Additional aircraft are enabling the young Russian freight carrier AirBridge Cargo to swiftly expand its scheduled services. In addition, the company is investing in the expansion of its existing hubs and the erection of new ones.

The Russian freight carrier AirBridge Cargo Airlines (ABC) wants to boost sales in its domestic market. It launched a new B747F service from Frankfurt (Germany) to St Petersburg (Russia), with onward connections to Shanghai or Beijing (both China), on 25 March. Airfreight trucking services are available to 15 cities in the region from the Russian metropolis. At the beginning of July, AirBridge Cargo invited St Petersburg's leading freight forwarders to come and learn about its new service between Western Europe and East Asia. The management also took the opportunity to inform its customers about the aircraft deployed, loading options, the complete current flight timetable, and the company's expansion plans.

Additional aircraft

The Volga-Dnepr Group, to which ABC belongs, ordered five long-haul Boeing B747-8F freighters for its subsidiary and signed options ibr five farther units of this type in March. The first aircraft is to be delivered in February 2010, the rest between 2011 and 2013.

AirBridge Cargo currently operates six B747s. One of these units will leave the fleet in October, but the all-cargo carrier will receive a Boeing B747-400ERF in November, and two more in 2008, according to the terms of its leasing contracts with GE Commercial Aviation Services (GE-CAS) and Guggenheim Aviation Partners. Seven aircraft will then be at the company's disposal between April 2008 and February 2010.

New routes

AirBridge Cargo currently operates daily services from Shanghai to Frankfurt (Germany), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Luxembourg via Russia and back, as well as four weekly flights from Beijing, three from Nagoya (Japan) and three from Hong Kong.

The carrier wants to add new connections from Moscow (Russia) to Budapest (Hungary) and Tel Aviv (Israel) in autumn. Both destinations arc big markets for perishables and the high-tech segment. From November, ABC will fly its Krasnoyarsk (Russia)-Toronto (Canada)-Houston TX (USA)-Amsterdam-Krasnoyarsk service twice a week, as well as an additional weekly Shanghai-Moscow-Frankfurt/ Amsterdam-Shanghai run.

The new aircraft are to be used to open connections to Chicago IL (USA) via Canada, as well as to Viracopos (Brazil), Bogota (Colombia) and Quito (Ecuador) in South America. Stan Wright, vice-president of Volga-Dnepr and responsible for ABC, is also considering adding flights between Krasnoyarsk and India, as well as direct services between Russia, India and North America. India is an important supplier of pharmaceutical products and aircraft parts to the Russian market. The possible Indian destinations under discussion are Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.

AirBridge Cargo's new freight hub in Krasnoyarsk will be officially inaugurated in August. Besides using this airport as a stopover between Europe and the Far East, ABC started offering weekly flights from there to Khabarovsk (Russia) with a B747-200F in April. -Thanks to this hub in Siberia, we achieve a 60:40 balance in traffic between the Far East and Europe,» Wright stated. «1 am also very pleased with the load factor on our Russia-China services. We only began operating in this market a short time ago and already we have a load factor of 60%." Wright expects further demand for capacities to China to be generated by the 2008 Olympics.

Perishables centre for Moscow AirBridge Cargo wants to increase its services to Moscow's Domodedovo airport in the future, in order to expand its collaboration with Kras Air, which uses the hub. A total of EUR 120 million is available for investments in cargo handling, maintenance and a perishables centre at Domodedovo. In Frankfurt, ABC operates fourteen flights per week and has already become the second-most important freighter customer after Lufthansa Cargo.

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