Volga-Dnepr Group member AirBridgeCargo has invested heavily in its sales forces, network enhancements, fleet development and the internal streamlining of its organization. This went hand in hand with product initiatives. Now, the carrier hopes to harvest the fruits.
The initiatives taken so far to bring the group further up front are only an intermediate result of an ongoing process, states Robert van de Weg, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at
Volga-Dnepr Group, AirBridgeCargo’s parent. “We have set up global account management, started serving new routes and markets and changed some internal structures to become more competitive in an
extremely challenging market we are acting in.”
Improved customer relations
In his view the most intriguing result of these modifications is a much closer relationship to customers both globally and on a regional basis. He also argues, that having achieved this, it is time to take the next step after most changes have been implemented and proved their suitability for everyday use. His new aim: closely coordinating the product verticals and the customer verticals by knitting AirBridgeCargo’s and Volga-Dnepr’s activities closely together, whenever/wherever this makes sense and results in optimized services for the group’s clients.
In practice, this means that transports of goods belonging to important segments like aerospace, heavy machinery, the energy sector or humanitarian missions (emergencies, natural disasters) will be jointly planned and carried out. At the end of the day, it doesn’t count who supplies the capacity, either Volga-Dnepr’s fleet of AN-124s, Ilyushin-76TD-90WDs, Atran’s Boeing 737Fs or AirBridgeCargo’s fleet of Boeing Jumbo freighters.
It’s all a matter of availability and planning, Robert stresses.
Russian import volumes went south but are recovering slowly
Asked about the market situation in Russia he confesses that the sanctions imposed by the West have driven imports into Russia down. In 2014 and early 2015 the effects were considerable, but in the meantime the situation has stabilized on a lower level showing the first signs of recovery as well as volumes picking up again.
The domestic Russian market accounts for roughly 15 percent of all revenue generated by ABC.
Touching financial matters, he remains somewhat reluctant, pointing to the peak season that drives ABC volumes up considerably. “It depends on November and December sales to finally say if we’ll close this year with a profit or not.”
Today (2 November) ABC announced adding London Heathrow to its network. The route SVO-LHR-FRA-SVO will be served twice a week, always Thursdays and Saturdays, starting tomorrow.
Will Prestwick follow Heathrow?
As stated by manager van de Weg: “The introduction of London Heathrow services is an important step for us and extends the number of delivery solutions we can offer our worldwide customers. Europe, together with China, has been our prime market since the very first day of operation 12 years ago and it continues to support our strong growth performance. In the first nine months of 2016, we have achieved a 22% increase in tonnage ex Europe.”
He added to this that Glasgow Prestwick might be the next destination served by ABC. “It’s on our watch list since there is some interesting aerospace as well as oil and gas business; we intend to capture a share of this market.”
Heiner Siegmund / Michael Taweel