AirBridgeCargo Airlines, the scheduled cargo business of Volga-Dnepr Group, has won the prestigious ‘Wings of Russia Award’ for ‘Airline of the Year ’ Cargo Carrier Operating in Domestic and International Air Lines’.

The airline won the accolade based on its growth and development in 2008 and the balanced strategy applied to its development by Volga-Dnepr Group.

In 2008, AirBridgeCargo Airlines achieved substantial growth in its core operational performance: sales grew by 49% to US$452 million and freight turnover reached 1,102 thousand FTK’s. Major factors that contributed to AirBridgeCargo’s growth in 2008 were a new structure for its sales system to considerably enhance its efficiency and the airline’s expanded route network.

‘The key to success for a young airline like AirBridgeCargo was the overall success shown by the whole of Volga-Dnepr Group. This was secured through a combination of charter and scheduled operations within a single business structure,’ noted Executive President of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Alexey Isaikin.

AirBridgeCargo received its Wings of Russia Award at a special ceremony held at the Renaissance Hotel in Moscow. Traditionally, winners are chosen by way of secret voting by members of the Public Award Board, which comprises more than 120 civil aviation experts, officials of aviation authorities, representatives of state-owned and private companies and mass media agencies.

‘Wings of Russia’ is the national airline award established and organized by Air Transport Observer magazine, the Russian Air Transport Operators Association. Launched in 1997, the Wings of Russia Award is now accepted as Russia’s only program recognizing excellence in commercial air transport. Over 50 Russian carriers compete annually in 10 categories, including domestic and international passenger transport, air cargo, business aviation and carriers serving industries of the Russian economy. This year some important innovations have taken place; the Public Council can now bring forward airline companies in different nominations whereas in previous years this was the privilege of airlines alone. Companies are invited to draw up their own entries explaining the merits of their achievements and then to submit them to an independent Public Council. The Wings of Russia Public Council numbers over 126 industry experts, representatives of governmental agencies, related business and financial circles, and mass media. The intense competition results in great nationwide prestige for the winners. The program ensures that the winners secure recognition of their achievements.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) was the first Russia-based airline to start operations on Europe-Russia-Asia air routes using Boeing 747 freighter aircraft (currently, six aircraft in the fleet). Established in 2002/2003 as a business unit of Volga-Dnepr Group, АВС now connects major airports in Europe (Frankfurt, Amsterdam) with key locations in Asia (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo). Furthermore, the airline regularly operates charter flights to create greater value for its customers.

Combining high quality service and competitive product, ABC is developing its routing network and adding new flight frequencies to meet growing customer demand, supported by its solid business relations with major global and regional logistics companies such as Panalpina, DHL, Schenker, Kuehne + Nagel, TNT, UPS, KWE, and Nippon Express. The airline provides cargo delivery services to corporations and organizations, including Rosoboronexport, Exxon Mobil, Schlumberger, Acer, Boeing, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Jaguar and others.

Volga-Dnepr Group is the largest cargo carrier in Russia and the leader in the heavy and outsize segment of the global air cargo market. The core of Volga-Dnepr’s business is made up by charter air cargo services using AN-124-100 and IL-76 aircraft (operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines), and sch