Strong performance in charter and schedule air cargo markets helps Volga-Dnepr Group out-perform industry average in 2009


Volga-Dnepr Group’s results for 2009 show its charter and scheduled cargo airline businesses out-performed the industry average for the year, with overall freight traffic up 7% on the previous 12 months, contributing to total sales of US$1.252 billion

The Group has reported freight traffic carried by Volga-Dnepr Airlines and AirBridgeCargo Airlines rose to 1.845 billion FTK in 2009. This 7% increase demonstrates the high operational efficiency of the two airlines and compares with a -10% industry-average decrease for the year.

Volga-Dnepr Group sales in 2009 also show that the two airlines weathered the global economic crisis better than the majority of other carriers. The 15% decline in revenues once again compares favourably with the overall industry average of a 23% downturn in airlines’ sales figures.

Despite the challenge of the global financial and economy crisis that severely impacted the international air cargo industry throughout the year, Volga-Dnepr Group says it was still able to realise new opportunities and fulfill its growth strategy for both its scheduled cargo services between Europe and Asia using Boeing 747 freighters and in the field of global chartered cargo services with AN-124-100 Ruslan and IL-76 ramp aircraft for the transportation of outsize and heavyweight air cargo.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines, the Group’s scheduled air cargo services operation, grew freight traffic 20% to 158,800 tonnes thanks to a 16.2% increase in its average payloads, taking its overall load factor for the year to 87.4%. In 2009, the airline substantially expanded its route network, connecting destinations in Europe and Asia through its new air cargo hub at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

In the field of air charter operations, Volga-Dnepr Airlines continued to demonstrate the high worldwide demand for its air logistics services and expertise with Russian-built AN-124 and IL-76 ramp freighters, especially in the US and European markets. Freight traffic onboard its AN-124 aircraft fleet was maintained at the record level achieved in 2008, totaling 69,655 tonnes. The stable performance of the AN-124 business during a year of unprecedented global economic crisis reinforces the Russian government’s decision to support the production of an upgraded version of the freighter, the AN-124-100M.

The business performance of Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ new IL-76TD-90VD freighters continued to exceed forecasts, with freight traffic growing by 12% in 2009. Volga-Dnepr Airlines will add a third new generation IL-76TD-90VD to its fleet in 2010 to satisfy growing customer demand for its unique operating capability.

“Generally, the Group has demonstrated its ability to concentrate its efforts on key operating areas and substantially improved efficiency of its operations in 2009. This eventually enabled us to achieve acceptable operating and financial results under exceptionally difficult conditions during a year of crisis for businesses across the globe,” said Sergey Shklyanik, Senior Vice-President of Volga-Dnepr Group.

Information for editors

Volga-Dnepr Group is the global leader in the outsize and heavy air cargo segment, and the largest air cargo operator in Russia. The Group’s core businesses are chartered air cargo services with AN-124 and IL-76 aircraft (Volga-Dnepr Airlines) and scheduled air cargo operations with Boeing 747Fs (AirBridgeCargo Airlines). The fleet of aircraft operated by Volga-Dnepr Group comprises 10 AN-124-100 super-heavy freighters, 3 IL-76 freighters (two of which are upgraded IL-76TD-90VD versions built under airline’s special order) and 7 Boeing 747 freighters (including 4 of the latest Boeing 747-400). The Group employs a 3,000-strong International team of highly qualified specialists in various fields.

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