Volga-Dnepr Airlines has seen strong growth in demand for charters and a lot of diversity in the types of outsize and heavyweight cargoes it has delivered this year.
Commercial director, Alexander Kraynov (pictured below) notes flying hours operated by its An-124-100 and IL-76TD-90VD freighters in the first six months rose 29 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, compared to 2016.
He says year-on-year it is busier as half-year figures demonstrate and its ‘Cargo Supermarket’ service has boosted business as cleints can access use of the world’s biggest fleet of 12 An-124-100 freighters, other freighters and additional services to help reduce costs.
Volga has a global focus and aside from its headquarters in Ulyanovsk, for Russia and the CIS, it has bases at London Stansted and Leipzig for Europe, Sharjah for the Middle East and Africa, Houston for North and South America, and Hanoi for Asia Pacific and Australasia.
Kraynov says: “We not only have the option of offering IL-76TD-90VD as part of a solution, we also regularly use Boeing 747Fs and 737Fs if they enable us to offer better cost efficiency.
“We also combine charters with the scheduled cargo services of our sister airline, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, which is another effective way to lower cost for our customers.
“We have a growing number of similar examples and customers are increasingly beginning to recognise we have the capability and in-house expertise to identify ways to deliver their cargo as planned, but with potential opportunities to bring down their costs.”
Aerospace has been the fastest-growing sector in the last two to three years and accounts for around 35 per cent of annual business and includes high value and sensitive satellites, aero engines, aircraft components and helicopters.
O&G remains strong, and even with the reduction in new projects as a result of lower oil prices, Kraynov says it is performing regular flights to support existing oil fields and gas plants as well as emergency response services when replacement parts and equipment are required quickly, while Volga also serves a lot of customers in the energy and power industry.
The gas industry it has found to be resilient in terms of demand along with flights for the oil industry, and it is operating for clients carrying equipment and replacement parts for existing projects.
Kraynov adds: “We expect to see a continued recovery in demand in 2018 with several new projects dues to commence.”
Payloads have included 20 IL-76TD-90VD flights carrying trucks and trailers to help production at an iron ore mine in North Baffin, Canada, a 57-tonne generator rotor for Siemens from Germany to Kuwait, 197 tonnes of automotive equipment for Nippon Express from Japan to the US, and six An-124-100s carrying 11 generators for a power plant in Madagascar.