AirBridgeCargo finds clear air amid the turbulence

For AirBridgeCargo (ABC) – the scheduled cargo unit of the Volga-Dnepr Group – the current industry downturn is a mixed blessing. While its scheduled cargo business has clearly suffered, the slowdown has opened up new, and welcome,opportunities for its ad hoc charter business. By Donald Urquhart. Operating its fleet of six Boeing 747s – one […]


AirBridgeCargo all-cargo airline An-124 Dennis Gliznoutsa heavy and outsize carrier IL-76 Ruslan Int'l Volga-Dnepr


For AirBridgeCargo (ABC) – the scheduled cargo unit of the Volga-Dnepr Group – the current industry downturn is a mixed blessing. While its scheduled cargo business has clearly suffered, the slowdown has opened up new, and welcome,opportunities for its ad hoc charter business.

By Donald Urquhart.

Operating its fleet of six Boeing 747s – one -200, one -300 and four -400s – ABC has followed a similar rudimentary blue print that most other all-cargo airlines have relied on, in these desperate times – scaling back of frequencies along with routing changes. But for ABC, the basic blue print required some unique modifications.

“The frequencies were slightly adjusted, but not all were down, Shanghai became more than last year but the Japanese operations were reduced down to just one per week,” from three previously according to the group commercial managing director for Volga-Dnepr, Dennis Gliznoutsa. The scaling back of its Japan service was largely compensated for through a code share with All NipponAirways (ANA), he added.

Hub restructuring
But more interesting is the clearly more significant change that Russian scheduled cargo carrier made in restructuring its Moscow hub activities, Gliznoutsa told Payload Asia in an interview recently.

In part this restructuring was driven by the mix of aircraft ABC operates. Not only do its B747-200 and -300 offer quite different economics than its -400ERs, but there are crewing certification issues between the classics and the -400s. The solution, according to Gliznoutsa was to look at “modernising our route structure in terms of having the hub operation from Moscow.” The idea is to have the -400s flying from the Far East to Moscow and then do an on-ramp transfer to the -200 and -300 to serve the European operations.