Volga-Dnepr Airlines is continuing to develop its “Cargo Supermarket” combining scheduled and charter services, regional sales manager Georgy Sokolov (pictured) tells Air Cargo Week.
The Cargo Supermarket combines scheduled and charter services and he says this has considerably increased the number of Boeing 737 and 747 charters, as well as using empty legs of the Antonov AN-124-100 fleet to pick up additional cargo on scheduled lines when the 747s have limited availability.
Volga-Dnepr is developing regional operational bases, Sokolov explains: “One of our initiatives is developing the concept of regional operational bases, whereby it is not just a global coverage with sales offices, but rather more equipped airline branches in each key region.”
This year has started well for 2017, aerospace and oil & gas have proved strong, with some very good projects for the latter, and Sokolov adds: “We are also confident of seeing more charters for customers in the Energy & Power industry as well as demand to move heavy machinery for infrastructure projects that are starting around the world.”
One project that required innovation was operating 21 flights using a modernised Ilyushin IL76TD-90VD to support iron ore mining for Baffinland Iron Mines, so it could increase its iron ore production quota at its Mary River operation in North Baffin, Nunavut, Canada.
Baffinland needed more trucks and trailers, but ice had shut down shipping lanes so it turned to Volga-Dnepr for help.
Volga-Dnepr engineers got around the problem that the trucks were too tall to fit inside the IL76 but fitting smaller tyres on the tractor units.
Sokolov explains that -50 degree weather conditions meant it was essential to minimise the level of dismantling of the trucks in order to eliminate a lengthy re-assembly process on arrival.
He says: “Using the aircraft extension ramp equipment and onboard cranes also ensured the programme was self-sufficient in terms of loading and unloading which was also a big advantage in such a remote part of the world.”
With the necessary approvals from Transport Canada, Volga-Dnepr commenced a four-week programme of 21 flights at the start of April, and Sokolov says: “This included positioning extra crew in Canada to ensure the timeliness of the flight operations for the four-hour rotation from North Bay to Mary River and back again.”
Handling projects safely and efficiently remains Volga-Dnepr’s priority, Sokolov explains: “What we are trying to do every day is go beyond what’s unique even for us, developing newer and better versions of loading equipment, adding auxiliary services such as more advanced technical consulting, provision of external equipment, providing door-to-door deliveries where required– all things that can make our customers’ lives easier.”