The subsidiary of AirBridge Cargo intends adding three more Boeing 737-400 freighter aircraft to its fleet of currently two 737-400Fs and three An-12s. This step is expected to happen within the next twelve months. Once the fleet is increased the number of feeder flights for parent ABC will be upped. In parallel, additional capacity can be offered to major integrators, Atran is already cooperating with.
Atran Cargo Airlines is one of those rather small cargo carriers that hardly produce any headlines. Otherwise, the header would most likely read: “Atran sets performance record,” or “Efficiency is Atran’s paramount goal.”
This is proven by operational data submitted on a daily basis by major integrators who are closely monitoring Atran who serves them. Currently, the airline conducts flights between Moscow and Cologne on behalf of package delivery giant UPS and links Munich with TNT’s main gateway Liege. In addition flights between Moscow Vnukovo Airport and Malmoe in Sweden together with feeder services from Western Europe to Moscow Sheremetievo are part of the schedule to add shipments to the intercontinental routes of parent AirBridge Cargo. “Only the slightest disruption at any airport or route can mix up the entire flight pattern of the two 737-400 freighters operated by our daughter Atran,” states Wolfgang Meier, Volga-Dnepr Group’s VP Marketing and Development, who hence speaks for ABC as well.
“Atran’s performance is just incredible, proven by all data,” he lauds.
The airline is anything but a newcomer. Established already during the Second World War in 1942 as an Aeroflot offspring named ‘Moscow Aviation Enterprise’, it was its main task, to deliver spare parts and components to the Russian aviation industry in war time. Twenty years later, with the cold war nearing its peak, the carrier commenced operating freighter aircraft. By 1980 the fleet comprised 29 aircraft that operated mainly on domestic routes within the Soviet empire. By then the company changed its name to Transport Aviation.
The next change occurred in 1993, four years after the breaking up of the Soviet Union, with Transport Aviation becoming Aviatrans, a private public limited liability company. Finally, in 2011 AirBridge Cargo acquired the airline and started fitting part of their operations into its own itinerary ever since. Besides the above mentioned two Boeing freighters the airline operates three An-12s on domestic routes.
“The fundamental reason for taking over Atran was their know-how that we wanted to capitalize on and secure for our group,” reasons Sales-Chief Meier. The particular know-how he has in mind is the carrier’s knowledge of the fine-tuned operational processes that are daily routine practiced by the integrators. “Atran is flying on behalf of UPS already since 1994, so imagine how much experience their staff has gained until today,” Wolfgang recognizes.
Once the additional three Boeing 737-400Fs have become part of the fleet, Atran will phase out the aging three An-12s, ABC’s Executive President Denis Ilin announces. From then on the number of domestic Russian routes serviced by the carrier will be increased – parallel to the feeder flights conducted on behalf of the above mentioned package delivery companies. This setting is part of parent ABC’s strategy. “In addition to our main hub Moscow Sheremetyevo we at ABC center our operational activities at four more gateways – Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Yekaterinburg, and Khabarovsk,” Meier illustrates. These ABC hubs, spread over a vast territorial distance of eight flying hours, need to be better linked with Russia’s hinterland. A task, Atran has been selected for. Practically this means that ABC is not only bridging continents with its flights between Far East, Europe and North America, but plans to set up a domestic cargo network within Russia. A step, reminds ABC-Chief Ilin that includes a dense network of trucking services as well.