Russian media claimed that Moscow-based freight carrier AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) lost many pilots last year to domestic and international airlines, due to salary irregularities and a drop in cargo volumes. In response, ABC speaks of incomplete coverage and rejects such reports.
No staffing problems
According to an ABC source, less than a dozen cockpit crew exited the carrier in the last quarter of 2019, which is anything but dramatic and corresponds to a normal personnel turnover.
ABC points out that it is fully staffed, and all flight operations are running according to schedule. “Yes, some pilots left our company last year, but we have zero staffing problems,” a leading manager assured CargoForwarder Global.
Regarding the payment allegation, ABC said that there was a one-time delay but that this has been settled with all salaries having been fully paid meanwhile. Currently, cockpit crew earn 8,900 to 10,200 euros per month, depending on their operating time and status. More or less, these amounts equal salaries earned by pilots flying for Aeroflot, Russia’s largest carrier by far.
Strategic U-turn: Every single route served must be profitable
During the last months, ABC has restructured its network, scrapping unprofitable routes and concentrating services on air lanes generating profits. This comprises a number of transatlantic flights that were thinned out, such as those operated between Frankfurt and U.S. destinations, for instance.
An ABC source pointed out that apart from closing loss making rotations, ABC has been actively developing the transportation of goods which are not allowed to be carried inside belly-holds of passenger airlines, unless special conditions are granted.
Freighters are not indispensable
He also said: “ABC has been looking at exporters worldwide following the trends of the world trade rather than passenger flows. Almost half of the goods is still being carried with full freighters, so aviation experts do not see full freighters disappearing any time soon.”
According to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, cargo and mail volumes transported by AirBridgeCargo dropped 6.7% from January 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019, totaling 497.400 tons. Full-year sales have not yet been made public by the agency.
The carrier will publish its business and financial data for 2019 at the end of January.
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