Initially founded by its parent Volga-Dnepr in 2004 to cover the Russian aviation group’s open flank of scheduled flights, AirBridgeCargo (ABC) has meanwhile adjusted its business model, offering its B747F capacity increasingly to the charter market. The once strict separation of flight activities, with Volga engaging solely in charters and ABC sticking to scheduled services was already watered down some years ago when the group introduced its warehouse strategy.
By playing increasingly the charter card, ABC reacts to growing market demand for ad hoc cargo flights. This is indicated in a company release stating that in 2016, the carrier saw a 47 percent
year-on-year growth of charter missions using the capacity of the company’s Jumbo freighters.
As latest example, standing for many previously accomplished charters, the carrier refers to a mission conducted on behalf of DHL Global Forwarding for Zurich-based high-tech firm Evatec. The Swiss company markets thin film coating solutions used in wireless communication, high precision optics or power devices, among other products.
In this specific case, ABC conducted a number of charters from Europe to China, transporting mainly machine tools, this way supporting Evatec’s growing business in the Far East.
Stated Sergey Lazarev, General Director at ABC: “We were chosen for these specific flights due to our reputation for on-time performance as well as our proven expertise in managing safe deliveries of high value production equipment.” To ensure the integrity of their shipments, Evatec representatives monitored the loading of the machines into the 747 freighters at FRA and AMS to ensure the integrity of their shipments.
Engaging in charters without neglecting line-haul services
The Evatec mission is, similar to charter flights operated before, a strong reflection of the growing demand for ad-hoc flights utilizing large Boeing 747F equipment, ABC states. “This demand we are able to meet due to the continued expansion of our 747 fleet.”
While putting its focus increasingly on the charter niche without neglecting the scheduled services, ABC follows a general trend in freight transports. This is borne out by Cargolux that decided to step into the ad-hoc business as well, or do Emirates, Lufthansa Cargo or Qatar Airways Cargo since long, among others.
ABC’s advantage to its competitors: Together with their sister company Volga-Dnepr Airlines they can offer combination packages as single source solution consisting of line-haul and charter flights. This warehouse concept of tailored capacity offerings is a unique selling point for the V-D Group.