From January until September 2014 Moscow-headquartered AirBridge Cargo’s tonnage leaped by double-digits. The figures show that the fleet and network strategy of Volga-Dnepr’s line-haul
arm is paying off. It looks like that the carrier seems to be immune to political and economic crisis. Last week, new routes and additional frequencies were launched.
The figures let competitors surely prick up their ears: In total, ABC transported 290,735 tons of cargo during the first nine months, a plus of 14 percent year-on-year.
Record sales expected
The load factor stands at 71 percent, which is well above industry average (below 50 percent). With the high season gaining momentum ABC’s management is optimistic in achieving record sales for the fiscal year 2014. This is all the more astonishing in view of the contracting Russian economy, the sanctions imposed by most western countries as reaction to Moscow’s Crimea annexation and ongoing support for Ukraine’s separatists as well as the sharp decline of the ruble against the euro and dollar. Seeing things from the perspective of the carrier it seems that all these troublesome and disturbing external factors have obviously not had any influence on their airline’s cargo sales. Having said this it must be taken into account that the carrier’s Russian home market contributes only very limited tonnage to ABC’s total loads, mainly imports but rarely any exports. So its bread and butter biz consists of transiting goods on round trips between the Far East, Europe and the U.S. via Moscow.
New routes, more flights
The strategic decision to decentralize the network instead of concentrating services at a limited number of hubs and sub-hubs as done in the past, thus offering markets uplift capacity at a growing number of airports, is a main reason to explain the carrier’s thriving tonnage. As a result, ABC’s fleet of Boeing 747-8Fs or B-400Fs also operates to airports such as Malmo, Munich, Leipzig/Halle or Basel, to name just a few of the newly served destinations in Europe. Also flights from Frankfurt to Chicago under fifth freedom rights contributed to the tonnage increase as well as the upping of frequencies on existing routes like Seoul or Tokyo, for instance.
“The sales figures prove that our concept is working out well,” comments Senior VP Marketing & Sales, Robert van de Weg.
Commencing with the 2014/15 winter schedule, ABC has launched additional frequencies to Munich, Milan and Amsterdam in Europe, Hong Kong and Shanghai in Asia, and Chicago and Dallas in the USA. Says Robert: “Or strategic approach is to serve forwarders where they are consolidating their shipments. This has proven to be the right operational and commercial move in Munich, Milan or at other airports where we started offering capacity to the local market.” He goes on to say that this way “we are providing a faster service to the forwarding industry making the trucking of goods over greater distances superfluous.”
According to Denis Ilin, Executive President of ABC, the downturn in international economies “has challenged us to focus even more on developing and implementing new business opportunities and solutions that have given us a platform for growth. Our priority remains to deliver the highest levels of customer service, supported by the operating efficiencies of our modern aircraft fleet, because customer satisfaction is the key to us realizing our market leadership ambitions.”