The state enterprise has tabled plans to run an own cargo airline, expanding its freighter fleet from currently two Tupolev Tu-204Fs to up to six units. Which types of aircraft the postal service wants to acquire is still a much debated issue in their Moscow headquarters.
Last year, Russian Post tapped initially into the freighter business when they signed an agreement with Ilyushin Finance for the lease of two ex-Transaero operated Tu-204 all-cargo aircraft. Meanwhile these aircraft have performed more than 120 flights, transporting 3,500 tons of freight and mail on domestic and international sectors. A company spokesperson commented: “Our own aircraft reduce the dependency on scheduled passenger flights and the availability of their lower deck capacity for carrying our consignments; it speeds up processes and reduces expenditures when compared with the utilization of third-party transport capacity.”
Freighters needed for coping with increasing volumes
In the near future, the postal service expects shipments to increase significantly mainly driven by e-commerce activities. "In order to timely deliver growing volumes of mail and parcels, especially to remote regions in Russia’s Far East, we plan to expand our own fleet," he stated.
According to reports aired by Russian media, the state enterprise thinks of a mix consisting of short and medium-haul aircraft stemming either from domestic production (TU-204Fs, IL-112Fs or MS-21 Fs) or alternatively provided by their U.S. or European competitors.
Following the trend
In a statement, the postal service pointed out that the majority of large postal companies and logistics firms run their own fleet of freighters. Explicitly mentioned are Deutsche Post-DHL that operates 137 aircraft through its Express and Aviation unit, China Post and their 29 freighters or Italy’s Poste Italiane and their 10 freighters.
As Russia Post Chief Dmitry Strashnov pointed out, the competition between the major postal service providers will increase in the coming times seen by the global e-commerce hype. Therefore, the manager concludes, operating an own freighter fleet is an indispensable part of the product portfolio for serving customers best.