Based on 2007 results, the Volga-Dnepr Group of Companies has strengthened its position in the global outsize and heavy cargo market as well as expanded its new scheduled cargo services business and continued its implementation of industry projects.
Volga-Dnepr Group has reported total sales of US$1,045 million for 2007, 51% higher than its result in 2006. The company achieved substantial growth in the specialist air charter market for the carriage of outsize and heavy cargoes - +62% - and further established its presence in the highly-competitive scheduled cargo services sector. The Group’s scheduled cargo airline, AirBridgeCargo saw sales rise by 32% in 2007 to over US$300 million.
In 2007, Volga-Dnepr Group continued to focus on meeting the needs of both its existing long-term and prospective customers. A competitive pricing policy and strong development across the Group’s businesses enabled Volga-Dnepr to attain performance figures considerably in excess of growth rates for the global air cargo market. While global market growth rates in 2007 averaged 6%, the volume of cargo carried by Volga-Dnepr Group over the reporting period grew by 41% to 212,900 tons.
Supported by its operational success, the Group continued with its fleet expansion and upgrade programs, the development of its transportation infrastructure and the growth of its route network.
In 2007, Volga-Dnepr Airlines grew its sales from air cargo charter operations by 62% to US$767 million. During the 12 months, Volga-Dnepr’s AN-124-100 freighter fleet carried 59,700 tons of cargo, exceeding its performance in 2006 by 43%. A further 51,300 tons of cargo was carried using the airline’s IL-76 all-cargo fleet. In the outsize and heavy cargo segment, the company still accounts for more than half of this market globally and its share continues to increase.
Volga-Dnepr Airlines is in the process of implementing a program to grow and upgrade its aircraft fleet. In 2007, the first stage of the AN-124-100 upgrade was completed with a new version ’ the AN-124-100M-150 ’ successfully gaining certification. In September 2007, Volga-Dnepr Airlines took delivery of its second upgraded IL-76TD-90VD aircraft constructed by the Tashkent Aircraft Production Plant (Tashkent, Uzbekistan). In the previous month, Volga-Dnepr Group and MAK Ilyushin entered into an agreement for the construction of three more IL-76TD-90VD aircraft at the Tashkent Plant. These aircraft are due to join the Volga-Dnepr fleet in 2009-2010.
AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) showed growth in the scheduled air cargo market in 2007. Traffic carried on board its Boeing 747 fleet grew by 29%, reaching 101,900 tons. The company also continued to develop its route network and expand its fleet of aircraft. In September, ABC launched scheduled B747 services on the Moscow’Tokyo’Krasnoyarsk route. In 2007, the Aviation Authorities of Russia and Japan signed an agreement that included the granting of traffic rights to AirBridgeCargo for additional flight frequencies to the Japanese airport of Narita within 2008-2010.
In November 2007, AirBridgeCargo Airlines received its first Boeing 747-400ERF aircraft and delivery of two more -400ERF aircraft will have been completed in the first half of 2008. The new aircraft is the sixth Boeing 747 freighter in the carrier’s fleet. Additionally, Volga-Dnepr Group placed orders for five new Boeing 747-8F freighters, the latest modification offering an extended flight range and higher efficiency. These will be delivered between 2010-2013 and Volga-Dnepr Group has an option for five additional aircraft of this type. This substantial replenishment of the fleet is in line with the company’s general policy for attaining greater cargo traffic.
Volga-Dnepr Group is also paying much attention to the development of transport infrastructure. In 2007, Volga-Dnepr was extensively involved in the construction of the new cargo terminal at Kr