ABC Restructures its Management

The Russian cargo carrier announces three major appointments in its management team. The overall objective of this exercise is to push the ‘cargo supermarket’ development further ahead and take advantage of synergies between the charter unit of parent Volga-Dnepr and scheduled freighter services operated by its line-haul arm AirBridge Cargo.

ABC’s Wolfgang Meier is stepping up the career ladder  / source photos: ABC
ABC’s Wolfgang Meier is stepping up the career ladder / source photos: ABC

Good news for ABC’s Senior Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing Wolfgang Meier. Effective May 1st 2014 the manager will be taking the next step on his career ladder at AirBridge Cargo. From this day onwards he will be responsible for the development of the cargo ‘supermarket concept’, joint infrastructure for marketing and strategic sales of Volga-Dnepr Group, promoting the services of the newly-established express service division - Atran Airlines, as well as engineering and logistics services. Quite a range of multifaceted and demanding tasks he’ll have to shoulder.

Bundling of business activities
The background of his promotion and the simultaneously announced appointments of the former Cargolux executives Robert von de Weg and Peter van de Pas is the intended strategic realignment of Volga-Dnepr Group’s wide-spread biz activities. They involve sub-divisions like Volga-Dnepr Cargo Airlines, Air Bridge Cargo, Atran Cargo Airlines and Engineering services together with trucking options and logistics solutions. Our aim is to offer customer enhanced services and tailored solutions for their individual needs.” This could well be a combined product consisting of ABC’s global network and charter flights operated by Volga-Dnepr,” describes Wolfgang. “Basically you can compare all this with a supermarket offering a multitude of goods,” illustrates the manager. 

Adding freighters to Atran’s fleet
His future task will be to combine all those different business segments efficiently and profitably. “We intend to combine and blend our different business fields to offer clients a tailored product, including door-door transports,” states Wolfgang.
Volga’s newly acquired Atran Airlines is slated to play a pivotal role by operating a growing number of domestic Russian feeder flights on behalf of ABC or Volga’s charter unit in addition to Atran’s current services for some package delivery companies. “To fulfill this expanded task spectrum Atran’s currently small fleet of two Boeing 737-400 freighters will be enlarged by upping the number of 400Fs,” Meier told CargoForwarder Global.


From Cargolux to ABC
Together with his appointment AirBridge Cargo announced the hiring of Robert van de Weg and Peter van de Pas. Both managers had recently quit Cargolux’s Executive Board as reaction to their rejection of the commercial agreement signed between Cargolux’s major shareholders Luxembourg State and Chinese investor Henan Province. “As a matter of fact we are extremely happy that we have succeeded to get both profound experts on board,” Meier enthused.
Robert van de Weg will join the Volga Group on May 1st as Senior VP Marketing and Sales, based in Luxembourg, thus taking over Meier’s former job. Robert will also be responsible for centralizing the management of scheduled cargo sales, along with training and development of the Group’s global sales team. 
Peter van de Pas will take on the role as Senior VP Scheduled Operations to centralize its Boeing 747 and B737 fleet management, covering flight operations and maintenance activities, the development of hangar maintenance services and building efficient management processes between AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Technics, the Group’s MRO division. He takes up his new post on April 1st 2014 and will also be located in Luxembourg.


ABC eyes Frankfurt-Chicago route
This all indicates that ABC is strengthening its presence in Luxembourg by transferring tasks to the Grand Duchy that up to now had been concentrated at the carrier’s headquarters in Moscow. “I wouldn’t contradict this assumption, but it doesn’t affect our gateway strategy in any way,” Meier briefly commented. 
Asked about the recently granted traffic rights for serving routes between Germany and the U.S. the manager announced the imminent launch of transatlantic freighter flights. “At the beginning, we’ll take a very cautious approach,” he said, thus indicating that only one flight per week will be operated. Further details he did not provide, but according to information obtained by CargoForwarder Global ABC intends connecting Frankfurt and Chicago.

Heiner Siegmund