Air Cargo

AirBridge no longer just a boutique Russian air cargo carrier

AirbridgeCargo (ABC), has come of age. ABC, known mostly for its heavy lift capability, particularly the massive Antonov 124s, is part of the Volga-Dneper comprised of three cargo airlines: Volga-Dneper, AirBridge, and Atran. The group’s current fleet size comprises 41 all cargo aircraft, including eighteen Boeing 747Fs, three Boeing 737Fs, thee Boeing 747s, twelve Antonov 124-100s, and five Ilyushin 76TD-90VDs.

Vincent “Vince” Ryan is ABC’s VP of North & South America, and is based in the company’s New York City headquarters. According to Ryan, his company has an extensive network in North America and is experiencing rapid growth. ABC currently runs 38 weekly flight segments in the US & Mexico, including fourteen in Chicago, six each in LAX and Atlanta, three in DFW, two each in Mexico City and Houston, and one in Columbus. 

The growth is driven largely by both inbound and outbound demand from Europe. In order to accommodate further growth an additional five 747s and nineteen 777s are on order from Boeing. According to Vince, “We are no longer just a boutique Russian cargo carrier anymore; we are a major source of global cargo lift!”

Vince Ryan
Vince Ryan
While ABC and the rest of the group continue to market their heavy lift/oversize cargo capabilities, they have expanded their vertical market differentiation into pharmaceuticals in 2017, and will roll out other specialty areas that make sense. In addition, Vince reminds the market that they are one of the few carriers that carries lithium batteries.

In addition to ABC’s scheduled network services, they also run charter programs to many ex-network airports in and out of the Americas, with the key operational criteria being that these airports have main deck loaders and runways of sufficient length to handle the planes. Ryan estimates a roughly 50/50 percentage share between scheduled and charter flights. Ryan certainly sees ABC’s oversize lift capability as a feature that can compete with ocean routings, but ultimately “The freight forwarder decides what freight can sustain ocean vs air based on transit time and economics”.

Brendan Dugan

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