We spoke with Denis Ilin, AirBridgeCargo’s executive president about a mega deal agreed upon with aircraft producer Boeing at the recent Paris Air Show. The contract entails twenty 747-8 freighters that ABC intends to integrate into the fleet in the coming years, making the company one of the largest main deck capacity providers worldwide.
Q: Denis, your parent company Volga-Dnepr just announced intentions to purchase an additional 20 Boeing 747-8Fs, a plan you had roughly indicated to CargoForwarder Global during
Munich’s Transport Logistics fair last May which we aired right after.
What is the delivery time frame for these aircraft, please illustrate.
A: Volga-Dnepr expects delivery of the 747-8Fs over the next seven years.
Q: Will your parent company be the proprietor of these aircraft with you leasing them from V-D or is ABC going to own the freighters?
A: ABC as a part of the Volga-Dnepr Group will acquire these aircraft partially on a lease basis through partners or they will be wholly owned by the Volga-Dnepr Group. The propriety decision will depend on the funding model selected for each aircraft.
Q: Do you intend to phase out your existing fleet of Boeing 747-400Fs and replace them with the -8Fs or will you keep operating the -400Fs?
A: ABC plans to have all Boeing 747s in 8F modification only, by 2025 in our fleet. This means that six older -400s of the Boeing variant, which the airline currently operates, will be gradually replaced. The others will serve ABC's development and expansion.
Q: Upping transport capacity dramatically as intended by ABC leads to either increased frequency on existing routes or expansion of the global network. What are your operational and strategic plans?
A: ABC’s long-term strategy comprises of strengthening positions in global cargo markets and development of the niches. Adding more capacity will enable following this long-term strategy and foster the airline’s determination to further expand, becoming a dedicated global air cargo carrier.
Q: Simultaneously with the fleet enlargement in the upper segment you are keen on integrating your feeder operator Atran Air into ABC’s traffic. What is Atran’s perspective within ABC?
A: The reason to have Atran integrated into AirBridgeCargo is to achieve synergy through collaborative network development. This enables providing customers with more point-to-point delivery solutions and to deliver cargo to the closest possible destination.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund