ABC Taps into East German Market

Russian freight carrier AirBridge Cargo (ABC) commenced linking its main gateway Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport with Leipzig/Halle Airport in the State of Saxony. Thus, the airline takes another step in building its point-to-point network. 

ABC’s President Denis Ilyin (left) and Leipzig’s Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung welcomed the first flight of the Russian capacity provider to Leipzig/Halle Airport  /  source: LEJ
ABC’s President Denis Ilyin (left) and Leipzig’s Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung welcomed the first flight of the Russian capacity provider to Leipzig/Halle Airport / source: LEJ

Markus Kopp, CEO of the Central German Airport Group (Leipzig/Halle – Dresden), speaks of a “new chapter of cooperation between Leipzig/Halle Airport and the Russian Aviation industry” enabled by carrier ABC. “In recent years, Russian firms have made large investments in LEJ by building maintenance and overhaul facilities at the site and also by utilizing the airport increasingly for flights.” During the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi ABC deployed numerous charter flights from Leipzig/Halle into Sochi, transporting equipment and supplies, Kopp recalled.


Starting immediately, ABC will link the airport once a week with Moscow Sheremetyevo by deploying a Boeing 747-8F or 747-4F on the route, depending on the availability of the aircraft and the market demand. “It’s just another step in our strategy to expanding our route network in Europe by serving airports like Malmoe, Malpensa, Paris and others, without reducing any activities at our main hubs Frankfurt and Amsterdam,” ABC’s Head of Sales Wolfgang Meier told CargoForwarder Global. The manager went on to say that similar steps are to come in the months ahead. He also announced that the Rhine-Main to Chicago flights will be stepped up from currently a once weekly service to three flights in the forthcoming months.

Saxony enjoys an economic upswing
In his welcoming speech Leipzig’s mayor Burkhard Jung said that the cargo flight is a clear proof of the economic recovery of the Leipzig region and most parts of Eastern Germany. “The uplift capacity offered by ABC to the market will strengthen German exports,” the mayor emphasized.
For Denis Ilyin, Executive President of ABC, the new line-haul flights to Leipzig/Halle are of strategic importance. They are part of a globe-spanning network offered by ABC that besides serving a growing number of cities in Europe includes operating to Russia, Asia and the U.S.
ABC currently operates twelve Boeing 747Fs ( 4 Boeing 747- 400ERFs, 3 Boeing 747- 400Fs and 5 Boeing 747- 8Fs ). With an average age of just four years, the freighter fleet is among the youngest worldwide, states ABC.

 

Russian enterprises are strongly engaged in Leipzig/Halle since long. In January 2013, Volga-Dnepr Technics added a new hangar of 8,500 square meters to its existing maintenance base. Together with Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines Russian charter carrier Volga-Dnepr formed a Ruslan Salis named joint venture at Leipzig/Halle for offering EU and NATO member States uplift capacity to hotspots like Afghanistan, the Balkan States or embattled areas in Africa but also for transporting goods to remote sites in case of natural disasters like earthquakes or flooding.
However, in view of the current tensions between Russia and the Ukraine the future of this JV is likely to be at stake.

Heiner Siegmund