AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), part of Volga-Dnepr Group and Russia’s largest cargo airline, achieved a 5% growth in cargo tonnage in 2013, with its highest ever volume of 340,000 tons across its network linking Europe, Russia, Asia and North America.
The airline reported volume growth on all of its major routes and this was matched by a 5% improvement in revenue. AirBridgeCargo’s Freight Ton-Kilometers (FTK) rose 15% in 2013, while its average load factor of 72% show a marginal 1.7% gain over the previous year.
Despite challenging market conditions in 2013, ABC continued with its long-term fleet modernization strategy and took delivery of two more new generation freighters Boeing 747-8F. With the delivery of its fifth B747-8F in December 2013, AirBridgeCargo completed its fleet renewal plan which began two years ago. This investment has reduced the average age of its aircraft fleet from nine years at the end of 2011 to three years at the end of 2013. At present, ABC’s fleet is one of the youngest in the air cargo industry.
Denis Ilin, Executive President of AirBridgeCargo, said: “Striving for excellence in the face of a changing and challenging economic environment has made us better at what we do. Our young, modern fleet will allow us to further expand the routes and services we offer to customers and to maintain the quality of our product. Our customers greatly benefit from the additional features of the Boeing 747-8F, such as enhanced payload. Now we have the youngest freighter fleet in the industry and operate to the highest standards of environmental compliance.”
AirBridgeCargo took delivery of its first Boeing 747-8F in January 2012, with the second and third aircraft joining its fleet in March and December 2012. The fourth new generation freighter entered service with ABC in September last year. As part of the modernization program, ABC removed four older aircraft from its fleet; two Boeing 747-200F, one Boeing 747-300F and a Boeing 747-400ERF. A further 747-400ERF will leave its fleet in 2014.
In 2013, AirBridgeCargo joined the Olympic movement with the delivery of 126 tons of broadcasting equipment as well as 214 tons of sports and lighting equipment for the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in the Russia City of Sochi in February. The flights were performed using Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 cargo aircraft, which form of Volga-Dnepr Group’s ‘cargo supermarket’ service offering.
“ABC is offering the customers convenient logistic solutions on cargo delivery to different points of the planet –with the use of its own fleet, as well with aircraft of the partner airlines. This is a good example of potential capabilities of Volga Dnepr Group’s ‘Cargo supermarket’,” Denis Ilin added.
The commencement of ABC charter flights to Sochi was to primarily cater to the needs of companies engaged in the construction of various Olympic infrastructure projects as well as to ensure the timely and safe delivery of winter sports equipment and materials. ABC says future charter services will also provide customers with a direct uplift solution for general cargo to this dynamically developing region of the Russian Federation.
At the end of 2013, ABC successfully passed the IOSA safety audit procedures and confirmed its compliance with the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). The certification confirms that AirBridgeCargo’s operational activities conform to the highest international air safety requirements.
In 2014, ABC plans to focus further on maintaining high quality service levels, as well as its economic competitiveness and operational efficiencies.