ABC Feels at Home in FRA

The Russian cargo carrier is continuously stepping up its operational activities at Rhine-Main Airport. Last November, the line-haul subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group has exceeded the 100 flights in-a-month mark for the first time ever. The tendency is clearly pointing further upward.

Three or four ABC 747 freighters being loaded or unloaded simultaneously is common sight in FRA  -  courtesy ABC
Three or four ABC 747 freighters being loaded or unloaded simultaneously is common sight in FRA - courtesy ABC

Last month, AirBridgeCargo operated 24 flights per week at Frankfurt Airport, making Rhine-Main the largest gateway by tonnage outside of its Moscow hub. Line-haul movements accounted for the lion’s share of these operations with charter flights playing a significant role as well. Andrey Andreev, ABC’s Sales Director Europe and General Manager in Frankfurt confirms that: “to support increased demand for the airline's services ex Frankfurt we introduced several additional charters last month. Frankfurt is one of the main gateways for ABC in Europe and we will grow our presence here by continuing to increase the number of available frequencies we offer, and thereby giving our customers an enhanced choice of reliable point-to-point air cargo services across AirBridgeCargo's international route network.”


U.S. flights
This includes transatlantic services as well since in 2014 the German regulators granted ABC 5th freedom rights for flights from FRA to destinations in the U.S., namely Chicago and Dallas. Ever since, the all-cargo carrier uses Rhine-Main as platform for flights across the pond. No wonder that movements went up as did volumes, particularly after Atlanta became the third online station served via Frankfurt in the USA this year. 

Additional 5th freedom rights conceded
Meanwhile, AirBridgeCargo has become the fourth largest cargo airline in Germany by volume. In the first 10 months of 2015, the Russian carrier transported 132,433 tons to/from Germany, a 22% rise year-on-year. In addition to their Boeing 747-400Fs and -8Fs, which account for the by far largest share of the tonnage their Boeing 737Fs also contributed to the upswing. They link Munich and Cologne with Moscow, with immediate onward connection of the shipments to destinations served by ABC in the Far East.
In addition to Frankfurt, ABC has now been granted 5th freedom rights by the German Transport Ministry for Munich and Leipzig/Halle. Therefore, it can be expected that both flight movements and volumes will leap further in 2016.

Comments Markus Heinelt, Head of Cargo Development at Munich Airport: "These transatlantic options offer forwarding agents much desired main deck capacity for transporting their shipments directly from Munich to destinations in the U.S., supplementing the abundant lower deck capacity passenger airlines serving our airport are supplying the market already."

Markus goes on to say that exporting firms located in southern Germany contribute 41 percent to the total tonnage flown from any of the country's airports to North America." So ABC shouldn't have much problems to fill up their U.S.-bound all-cargo aircraft with freight, he estimates.

Heiner Siegmund

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