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7JetSet7 Code: ABC
Status: Operational
Region: CIS
Country: RUSSIA
Employees 500
Web: airbridgecargo.com
Email: faxrgp@msk.vda.ru
Telephone: +7 095 755 7836
Fax: +7 095 755 6851

Click below for data links:
ABC-2012-09 - GEnx TROUBLES
ABC-2013-07 - INCDT
ABC-2015-11 - 747-8F.jpg

Formed in 2003 and started operations in 2004. Scheduled, international cargo, jet airplane services.

35 Usacheva Street
Moscow 119048, Russia

Russia (Russian Federation) was established in 1991, it covers an area of 17,075,400 sq km, its population is 148.4 million, its capital city is Moscow, and its official language is Russian.

February 2003: Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) plans to form a subsidiary operating 2 747F's for scheduled cargo flights by October 2003.

July 2003: Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) appoints former Atlas Air (TLS) executive, Stan Wraight as Executive Director of its new scheduled cargo operation, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC).

November 2003: Buys 2 747-200F's along with extra engines and parts from Alitalia (ALI).

December 2003: Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) will call its new cargo subsidiary scheduled operation "AirBridgeCargo Airlines" (ABC). Operations with 2 747-200F's, ex-Alitalia (ALI) are due to start in April 2004. It will operate from Luxembourg via Moscow and from Novosibirsk to Shanghai (Pudong), and Tianjin, near Beijing.

March 2004: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) signed a long term contract with Unipool, a Swiss-based (ULD) management control and pooling company.

April 2004: 747-243F (545-22545, VP-BIB), ex-Alitalia (ALI), Adventar leased for AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) operations.

May 2004: 2nd 747-243F delivery.

May 2005: (http://www.vda.ru). (faxrgp@msk.vda.ru).

June 2005: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) entered the scheduled cargo market last year in May 2004. It has operated 747's between Europe and Asia and in its 1st 8 months carried some 17,000 tonnes, reaching sales of $45.8 Million.

2 orders (December 2006) Il-96-400T, freighters, as launch customer. The IL-96-400T will have a cargo capacity of 92 tonnes and a range of 5,000 km. They will be operated by AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC).

August 2005: Amsterdam to Moscow Sheremetyevo (747-200F, 3x-weekly) to provide a fast and reliable supply line for Russia's $1 Billion import market for fresh flowers. Around 60 to 80% of flowers imported into Russia are from the Netherlands. Also operates Frankfurt to Shanghai & Beijing, via Moscow and Krasnoyarsk (747F, 5x-weekly).

747-329F (24837), ex-Air Atlanta Icelandic (AID), (GATX) (GAX) leased.

October 2005: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) took delivery of a 3rd 747F freighter that will enable it to add 4x-weekly flights between Europe and Shanghai via its hub in Krasnoyarsk. The 747-300SF, built in 1990, features a 30-pallet main deck and is 1 of 3 of its kind with (GE) engines to be converted to freighters, (ABC) said. (ABC) was awarded significant frequency increases to Shanghai and Beijing in recent negotiations as well the right to add Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hong Kong and Moscow on westbound flights.

(ABC) and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) signed an agreement to share 747 cargo capacity between Europe and Japan beginning in January. The carriers will market capacity on 2x-weekly flights through (ABC)'s Krasnoyarsk hub.

747-329F (24837, VP-BIC), (EAST) leased, Volga-Dnepr (VDA) wet-leased.

November 2005: Swissport Cargo Services and AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) will establish and develop a cargo hub in Krasnoyarsk in cooperation with KrasAir (ZXD) under a joint venture among the 3 companies. Swissport and (ABC) also signed a 3-year global cooperation agreement. (ABC) is the scheduled airline subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group and recently ordered 2 747-400ERFs, which will operate from the new hub. According to the parties, the Siberian city "is ideally located for its proposed hub role, lying at the crossroads of numerous global air cargo routes."

(ABC) of Russia, the scheduled cargo airline of Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group, ordered 2 747-400ERF freighters. The airplanes, worth $450 million, will be powered by (GE) (CF6-80C2B5F) engines and are scheduled for delivery in October 2007 and February 2008. "The addition of this advanced airplane to our cargo fleet will allow (ABC) to take another step in the realization of our ambitious project to develop scheduled cargo flights between Asia and North America via Russia," said Volga-Dnepr (VDA) VP, Stan Wraight. (ABC), formed in February 2004, has a fleet of 3 747-200Fs.

December 2005: AirBridge Cargo (ABC) of Russia announced that Regional Director and Area Manager Asia Pacific Peter Yap will retire at the end of January. He will be succeeded by Robert Song, formerly of Air New Zealand (ANZ) Cargo.

Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group said revenues for the 1st 9 months of 2005 totaled $308 million. Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and (ABC) had combined revenues of $254 million. Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) claims a 54% share in the movement of super-heavy and outsize cargo. Its fleet of 10 An-124-100s and Il-76s generated revenues of $189 million over the 9 months, up +10% over last year. (ABC), the scheduled cargo airline, had revenues of $65 million from the operation of 2 747-200Fs. A 747-300F joined the fleet in October.

January 2006: Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group said its 1st new-build IL-76TD-90VD freighter received Chapter 4 noise certification from (ICAO). The company has ordered 2 of the 50-tonne freighters, which are equipped with (PS-90A-76) engines and new avionics.

June 2006: AirBridge Cargo (ABC) added a 2nd weekly IL-76F freighter operation to connect with its international services from its hub in Krasnoyarsk to Sakhalin to satisfy demand from the oil and gas industry in the region, and opened an office on the island as well. It launched a weekly service to Sakhalin from Frankfurt and Amsterdam in March last year.

July 2006: Air Bridge Cargo (ABC) is a subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr (VDA) operating services from Europe to Asia via Moscow and Krasnoyarsk.

(IATA) Code: RU. (ICAO) Code: ABW (Callsign - AIRBRIDGE CARGO).

Parent organization/shareholders: Volga Dnepr Airlines (VDA) (100%).

Domestic, scheduled destinations: Moscow; & Krasnoyarsk.

International, scheduled destinations: Amsterdam; Beijing; Frankfurt; Nagoya; & Shaghai.

A ceremony to mark the placement of the foundation stone of the new cargo terminal at Krasnoyarsk – Yemelyanovo Airport took place, and was attended by those responsible for the new world class cargo hub in Russia. In attendance were the Administration of the Krasnoyarsk region, the carrier responsible for the project, (ABC), a subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA), Kras Air (ZXD), Swissport and the President and Vice President of Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), who have both shown a great deal of interest in the new project. ‘For 2 years, (ABC) has operated flights into Krasnoyarsk, and during this time, we have learned of the unique potential that the airport has, as a transport hub offering the shortest air routes between Europe, Asia and America, and the vast network for cargo delivery across Russia,’ commented Stan Wraight, VP of the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group.

‘The successful opening of this logistics center is of critical importance for (ABC) as we move towards launching transpolar flights in 2007. The introduction of the new 747-400ERF direct services to the Americas and SE Asia from Krasnoyarsk in 2007 requires this 1st stage of the facility to be fully operational and completed. Our confidence in the Krasnoyarsk hub is shown by this investment and 1st step,’ Added Mr Wraight.

The new terminal, which is scheduled to open in 2007, will be 4,000 sq meters, plus there will be parking spaces for (ABC) airplanes next to the building, also offering a centralized fueling system. The new complex will also include a modern business center of 2,000 sq meters to host airlines, logistics companies and the storage operator.

The 2nd stage of development is to be completed in 2008, to incorporate Tier II construction of the same area. Over the next 10 years, the plan is to build a ‘cargo village’ with a well-developed logistics infrastructure.

August 2006: AirBridge Cargo (ABC) will base an IL-76F freighter provided by parent Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA) in Krasnoyarsk to "meet growing demand" in eastern Russia.

(ABC) signed an interline agreement with Continental Airlines (CAL) and appointed general sales agent partners in the USA as it prepares to launch 747F flights to the USA next year. (ABC) said (CAL) will provide "an important link into its network, notably for the movement of oil and gas equipment from Texas to Sakhalin Island off the coast of Russia." (ABC), the scheduled services arm of heavy freight specialist Volga-Dnepr (VDA), operates 2 IL-76 freighters weekly from its Krasnoyarsk hub to Sakhalin. It named Platinum Air Cargo as its General Sales Agent (GSA) representative for Houston, Dallas and Washington and Heavy-weight Air Express as its (GSA) for New York and Chicago. "It is no secret that (ABC) plans to commence operations to the USA," airline Head, Stan Wraight said. "This is 1 reason why we have 2 new 747-400ERF freighters on order with 1st delivery scheduled for 2007."

January 2007: AirBridge Cargo (ABC) became the 22nd member of the Cargo 2000 alliance. It is the 1st Russian carrier to join the group. (ABC) serves both Moscow airports, Krasnoyarsk, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Nagoya. Parent Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group VP, Stan Wraight said (ABC) will add 3 new 747-400ERF freighters in 2007 and 2008, and launch service to Toronto and Houston later this year.

May 2007: Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group reported sales of $725 million in 2006, up +55% from 2005, and is projecting $1 billion in revenue this year. It said rising turnover resulted from development in its An-124-100 (revenue up +26%) and IL-76 (up +114%) charter freight businesses and expansion at AirBridge Cargo (ABC) (up +96%), which operates four 747Fs. (VDA) transported more than >155,000 tonnes of freight last year, 98% of which was flown internationally. (ABC) reported revenues of $227.4 million and transported 78,400 tonnes of cargo, up +79% on the prior year. Scheduled cargo services accounted for 31% of the parent company's total sales.

June 2007: Parent, Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and Ilyushin Interstate Aviation signed a general agreement covering construction and delivery of three new IL-76TD-90VD freighter airplanes and (VDA) said it is eyeing at least 13 of the type to replace and expand its fleet of aging IL-76s. It currently operates one of the new version, which it received earlier this year, and six of the older version. It has another new version on firm order that will be delivered in the third quarter.

The new IL-76s, of which the carrier plans to have five within 3 to 5 years, have an increased payload that allows up to 50 tonnes and, importantly, meet Chapter 4 noise requirements. The older versions are not in compliance with Chapter 4 and cannot fly into the European Union (EU), North America, Australia or Japan, markets (VDA) would like to serve with the airplane type. The agreement signed this week at the Paris Air Show is expected to be converted into a firm order in August.

(VDA) President, Alexey Isaikin said that future orders will depend on a combination of market demand and Ilyushin's "readiness to meet demand." He said (VDA) will "very carefully monitor and watch the market to see how it reacts" to the first five new IL-76s. "The first five will change the market" because they will allow the carrier to fly them to all regions, he said.

The new IL-76s will allow (VDA) to tap into demand for humanitarian and aerospace manufacturing cargo shipments, that are not large enough to operate economically with An-124s, Isaikin explained. The first airplane was flown into the USA earlier this year, marking the first IL-76 commercial flight to the USA since 2000.

August 2007: AirBridge Cargo (ABC) said in a filing with the USA Dept of Transportation that it intends to operate 747-400ERF freighter services beginning November 1 to Atlanta, Houston Intercontinental and New York (JFK) as well as beyond to Toronto from Moscow and Krasnoyarsk.

September 2007: AirBridge Cargo (ABC), Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group's scheduled service operator, will launch weekly Amsterdam - Tel Aviv - Moscow 747F flights from October 7. Earlier this month, it started weekly Moscow - Tokyo - Krasnoyarsk service.

Stan Wraight, Managing Director resigned to become Chairman of CargoItalia (CGT).

2 747-446NERFs with Side Cargo Door (SCD) (35420, VP-BIG; 35421, VP-BIK), (GEF) leased.

October 2007: Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) put its second next-generation Il-76TD-90VD freighter into operation, carrying a load of 32.5 tonnes from Gothenburg to Washington Dulles. The carrier will take delivery of three more, to be built by (TAPO) under an August order placed with MAK Ilyushin, in 2009 to 2010. The first 50-tonne-capacity freighter joined the fleet in summer 2006, and has operated in Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan, markets closed to older Il-76s, because of noise restrictions.

Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA) announced several new appointments, that it said "relate to structural management changes in both principal companies of the Group - - AirBridge Cargo Airlines (ABC) and (VDA) - - arising from the expansion of (VDA)'s business and prospected restructuring in connection with Initial Public Offering (IPO) plans." Vice-Director General President, Alexey Isaikin, also became President of (ABC). Denis Ilyin was appointed Senior VP SCO Strategy & Sales for (ABC). Gennady Pivovarov was appointed Senior VP SCO Operations, and General Director of (ABC), and Sergey Dyachkov was named General Director of (VDA).

November 2007: Boeing (TBC) delivered a 747-46NFER (35420, VP-BIG - see photo), to AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), the first of two under lease from (GECAS) (GEF), and the carrier's fifth 747F freighter. The airplane is powered by (CF6-80C2)s. (ABC) also operates 747-200F/-300Fs, and will take the second 747-400F in the second quarter of 2008. It has five 747-8Fs on order.

December 2007: Volga-Dnepr Group, parent of outsize airfreight specialist Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and scheduled cargo carrier AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), reported a +49.6% increase in revenue to $720 million for the first nine months of the year. The company did not reveal its costs or income. "Our growth is based on our successful 'cargo supermarket' concept of offering a wide range of air transportation services to our customers and providing efficient information and customer service," President, Alexey Isaikin said.

(ABC), which operates 747Fs on scheduled routes connecting Europe and Asia, via Russia, increased revenue +31% to $204 million for the nine months as traffic volume grew +29% to 70,494 tons. (VDA) reported revenue for the period of $491 million, up +59.4%. (ABC) in September launched Moscow - Tokyo Narita - Krasnoyarsk freighter service and last month took delivery its first 747-400ERF. Volga-Dnepr Group projected that full-year results would show "considerable growth in the financial and operational performance of all of its businesses."

February 2008: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), the scheduled services subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA), took delivery of its second 747-400ERF. The airplane is leased from (GECAS) (GEF). (ABC) took delivery of its first 747-400ERF in November, and is scheduled to receive another in April. (VDA) also has firm orders for five 747-8Fs plus five options.

747-46NFER (1400-35421, VP-BIK), delivery.

March 2008: Lufthansa (DLH) Systems will provide its Lido Takeoff Performance Analysis solution to AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) under a five-year contract.

April 2008: Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group reported a +51% increase in sales last year to $1.05 billion, $300 million of which was contributed by its scheduled airline, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC). The latter figure represented a +32% gain over 2006. (VDA) said the overall revenue rise was due in large part to a "substantial" +62% increase in the charter market for outsize and heavy cargo. (VDA) carried that freight, while (ABC) transported 101,900 tons aboard its 747s, an increase of +29%. The company said it is in the process of growing and upgrading its fleet. It took delivery of its second leased 747-400ERF in February - - its sixth 747 overall - - and its second upgraded Il-76TD-90VD last fall. It will take three more in 2009 through 2010.

(ABC) will be represented in Vietnam by Indo-Trans Logistics Aviation Services and in South Korea by Eurussia Air Cargo under a General Service Agreement (GSA).

747-4HAFER (35237, BP-BIM), Guggenheim (GUG) leased, Volga-Dnepr wet-leased.

June 2008: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) named Ludwig Hamburger, Regional Director Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

(ABC) was awarded an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) by Transport Canada. The airline said this is the "first step toward any airline gaining permission to operate to and from Canada."

July 2008: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), the scheduled 747F airline owned by Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA), said it likely will not achieve profitability this year, despite a more-than-doubling of first-half 2008 revenue to $210 million from $96 million in the year-ago period. (ABC) was launched in 2003 with the primary aim of transporting cargo between Europe and Asia, via Russia. "We still believe it's a successful business model," (ABC) Senior VP Strategy & Commercial, Denis Ilyin said, blaming the lack of profitability on high costs, particularly for fuel and labor.

(ABC) operates a fleet of three 747-200Fs, one 747-300F, and three 747-400Fs. It will take another 747-400F and retire a 747-200F by year end, and has five 747-8Fs on order plus purchase rights for five more with first delivery slated for February 2010. "We will not grow in the next year as we would like to [owing to high costs]," Ilyin said. "We are thinking about stability rather than growth right now." He conceded that despite increasing traffic and revenue, "we are still struggling with bottom-line profit."

(ABC) considers itself "to be the dominant player in the Russian market from both Europe and Asia." It operates flights from Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Luxemburg, via Moscow Sheremetyevo and Krasnoyarsk to Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo Narita, and Nagoya. It recently added limited service to/from Budapest, but has put North American expansion plans on hold. "North America should be a natural . . . in our network," Ilyin said. "But we have to give up growth for the sake of stability. Given the state of the USA economy, we're not sure we'd be able to generate enough exports from the USA to Europe and Russia to justify [expansion] right now." He added that since fuel costs are not likely to lower significantly, (ABC)'s decision to place orders for more efficient 747-400Fs and 747-8Fs will "lead us through" and enable long-term survival. "The cargo market created problems for itself," he commented. "It's been so attractive for everyone that the most lucrative markets [especially in Asia] have just been flooded with capacity. [If fuel costs remain at current levels], I expect the least efficient carriers to go away, which will keep carriers with good service in the strong markets."

August 2008: Airnautic will represent AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) in France under a General Services Agreement (GSA) agreement reached last week.

November 2008: Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group announced a 75% year-over-year increase in sales for the first nine months of 2008, with revenue from its charter and scheduled cargo services reaching $1.27 billion. Freight carried jumped +51% to 210,000 tons, while charter sales were up +80% to $882.9 million. AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC)'s scheduled flights brought in $344.1 million in revenue, up +68% from the first nine months of 2007. The group operates An-124-100s (10) and Il-76TDs (12 including two Il-76TD-90VDs) in charter services as (VDA) and 747Fs (seven) in scheduled flights as (ABC).


December 2008: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) reported sales of $423 million through the first 11 months of 2008, up +55% year-over-year. Traffic rose +31% to 121,000 tons of cargo.

Aviapartner Cargo reached agreement with (ABC) to provide cargo and ramp handling services at Amsterdam beginning January 1.

February 2009: The Volga-Dnepr Group, parent of Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), increased revenue from its charter and scheduled air cargo services by 46% in 2008 to $1.4 billion. Cargo tonnage rose +25% year-over-year to 267,000 tonnes and (FTK)s freight traffic jumped 32%.

July 2009: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) added Milan Malpensa to its network, launching twice-weekly, 747F flights to/from Moscow Sheremetyevo. (ABC) already operated 31 weekly flights to/from Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo linking Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Budapest, and Zaragoza with Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo Narita, and Hong Kong. (ABC) also operates flights to Krasnoyarsk. (ABC) launched weekly, Frankfurt - Kabul service using a 747F freighter.

(ABC) appointed Kales GSA as its general sales agent (GSA) in Italy.

The Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group, the outsize air cargo specialist that also operates scheduled 747F freighter carrier AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), said its overall traffic for the first six months of 2009 fell -5% to 835,000 (FTK)s. (ABC) actually saw an uptick as it transported 65,100 tons of freight during the half year, a +4.6% year-over-year increase.

October 2009: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) is launching weekly service from Amsterdam to Almaty via Moscow Sheremetyevo (as a technical stop) aboard a 747F freighter. (ABC) will operate a new weekly Amsterdam - Tokyo Narita 747-400F service, via Moscow Sheremetyevo during the winter schedule.

November 2009: 747-428ERF (33096, VQ-BFX), Air France (AFA) leased.

February 2010: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has introduced flights to Kabul, Maastricht, Milan, and Zaragoza - - SEE ATTACHED "AIRLINER WORLD" ARTICLE - - "ABC-2010-02 FLEET EXPANSION."

Globe Air Cargo was named AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC)'s exclusive General Sales Agent (GSA) in Poland.

April 2010: The Volga-Dnepr Group, parent of heavy airfreight specialist Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and scheduled air cargo operator AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), said the carriers' combined traffic increased +7% year-over-year in 2009 to 1.85 billion (FTK)s. However, revenue for the year lowered -15% to $1.25 billion as global cargo yields took a major hit. The company pointed out that its traffic and revenue results compared "favorably" in an air cargo industry that had a historically negative year.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) added a fifth 747-400F, a move it said was necessitated by the delay in delivery of its first new 747-8F that was due to join its fleet this year. Boeing (TBC) now is forecasting delivery of (ABC)'s first 747-8F, one of five it has on order, in February 2011. "By the end of 2009, we could clearly see that there are some markets in the world, such as Shanghai, that require increased airplane capacity," (ABC) Executive President, Tatyana Arslanova said. "With no 747-8F being delivered this year, the additional 747-400F will enable (ABC) to increase the number of frequencies from Shanghai to 12 a week." The new airplane lifts the (ABC) fleet to eight freighters: Two 747-200s, one 747-300 and five 747-400Fs. (ABC) is the scheduled cargo subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA) and Russia's largest international cargo carrier.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) said it took delivery of its sixth 747-400F freighter. The Volga-Dnepr scheduled service subsidiary, which now operates nine 747Fs, said the latest 747-400F is being leased from Air France (AFA). (ABC) earlier this month added its fifth 747-400F, saying the fleet expansion was necessitated by the delay in delivery of its first new 747-8F that was due to join its fleet this year. Executive President, Tatyana Arslanova said, "Enlargement of our fleet is one of the core parts of (ABC)'s strategy, which is targeted at development and enhancement of our service quality. Bringing in additional airplanes . . . will improve our punctuality and allow us to increase the number of frequencies on all the routes in our network." She added that (ABC) will take one of its 747-200Fs out of scheduled service and reserve it for charter operations.

July 2010: AirBridge Cargo Airlines (ABC) took delivery of its 10th 747F; the airplane will be used on its existing route network linking Europe and Asia via Russia. It is the third delivery of a 747F for (ABC) in four months.

November 2010: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) will launch service to the USA from Russia in the first quarter of 2011, citing New York and Chicago as the most likely destinations. An (ABC) spokesperson told the "International Transport Journal" that (ABC) is mulling the addition of 747-400Fs for the service, as delivery of the 747-8F has been delayed. ABC has not yet decided whether it will fly across the Atlantic or the Pacific from Russia.

December 2010: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) said it “hopes” that Boeing (TBC) will not announce further delays to its 747-8F Freighter program and that it is in discussion with (TBC) on compensation for the first set of delays. (ABC) placed orders for five firm 747-8Fs in 2007 with purchase rights for a further five.

Deliveries of the new airplanes to (ABC) were to start at the end of 2009 at the rate of one a year. The first delivery was initially postponed to February 2011 and then to September 2011. Boeing (TBC) in late September said the first 747-8F will not be delivered to launch customer Cargolux (CLX) until "mid-year 2011," marking the third delay for the troubled program.

“We do expect Boeing (TBC) to deliver those airplanes. We hope to receive the first airplane they promised us for 2009 in September [2011] and a second one in December,” Director Network & Fleet Development, Andrey Shumilin said on the sidelines of the European Union (EU) - Russia Air Transport New Horizons conference in Brussel. “We need the airplanes for our planned expansion. We [are] targeted to launch scheduled cargo flights to the USA next year, initially to Chicago.”

The new USA routes will be operated with its current 747-400ERF fleet while the new 747-8Fs will be deployed on mature routes with established volumes and yield.

(ABC) has been expanding quite extensively, and this year launched several new routes and increased frequencies on existing routes. In April, it added a fifth 747-400F to manage the delay in the delivery of its first 747-8F.

(ABC) took delivery of its eighth 747-400F, 747-446F (33749, VQ-VJB), ex-Japan Air Lines (JAL). The lease commenced on December 24, which will be utilized to support its existing route network and to "keep pace with a year of record-breaking growth," (ABC) said.

March 2011: Traxon Europe reached an agreement with AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) for the provision of cargo information services.

May 2011: Volga-Dnepr was awarded certification from the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia’s Ministry of Transport to perform its own cargo handling at Russian airports.

July 2011: Fraport Cargo Services won a contract from AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) to provide freight handling services at Frankfurt.

August 2011: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) launched thrice-weekly, Maastricht - Amsterdam - Yekaterinburg - Krasnoyarsk - Zhengzhou 747-400F service.

January 2012: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has taken delivery of the first of five 747-8HVF (37581, VQ-BLQ - - SEE PHOTO - - "ABC-747-8HVF - 2012-01") freighters, making (ABC) the first customer of the type in Russia.

(ABC) placed orders for five firm 747-8Fs in 2007 with five options. Deliveries have been delayed three times. Initial delivery was scheduled for the end of 2009 at the rate of one a year, but was postponed by Boeing (TBC) to February 2011 and then to September 2011.

(ABC) Executive President, Tatyana Arslanova said the 747-8F, which will replace some of (ABC)’s older airplanes, will give (ABC) the youngest freighter fleet in the industry, while “maintaining the highest standards of environmental compliance.”

(ABC) operates two 747-200Fs, one 747-300F and eight 747-400s.

The first 747-8F routes have not been revealed but it is anticipated the airplane will operate on Europe – China service.

(ABC), which was established in 2004 as a part of Volga-Dnepr Group (VDA), is based at Moscow Sheremetyevo and operates flight mainly between European and Chinese hubs. According to Fraport Cargo Services, (ABC) was the biggest cargo carrier at Frankfurt airport (FRA) in 2011. Last year, (ABC) launched its first scheduled flight to North America.

The new 747-8F Freighter is 250 feet, 2 inches/76.3 m long, which is 18 feet and 4 inches/5.6 m longer than its predecessor, the 747-400F Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16% more revenue cargo volume, which translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. The 747-8F freighters are powered with (GE)’s (GEnx-2B) engines.

747-8HVF (37581, VQ-BLQ), (VDA) leased.

February 2012: Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (IAC AR) has issued a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the 747-8 airplane, confirming the 747-8F freighter is in compliance with Russian and (CIS) standards.

The Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia’s Ministry of Transport had already given permission to operate commercial flights on this airplane type.

At the end of January, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) took delivery of the first of five 747-8Fs, becoming the first customer of the type in Russia. The airplane will operate Europe - China service, and hopes to operate flights to North America.

March 2012: German authorities denied fifth-freedom rights for Russia’s AirBridgeCargo’s (ABC) Frankfurt-on-Main to Chicago route, although the two countries will continue discussions in August.

During recent negotiations on changes to Russia - Germany bilateral agreements, industry experts said that Germany was apprehensive about letting (ABC) expand its business on Europe - USA routes. Russia offered German cargo carriers fly rights on trans-Siberian routes but the two sides could not reach an agreement. Foreign carriers have to pay fees to several Russian airlines, mainly to Aeroflot (ARO), to operate on routes over Siberia.

(ABC)’s first 747-8F was delivered in January, which (ABC) plans to operate on various destinations, including USA routes.

Despite the stalled negotiation on the fifth-freedom rights, industry experts said the two countries did agree to discuss regulations for passenger and cargo flights separately. They also agreed to add one more city in each country for scheduled flights: Kaliningrad in Russia and Baden-Baden in Germany.

April 2012: Volga-Dnepr (VDA) has finalized the acquisition of a 49% stake in Air Cargo Germany (ACG). The two carriers plan to jointly operate new routes to North America, which both, (VDA)'s scheduled cargo carrier AirBridge Cargo (ABC) and Air Cargo Germany (ACG), do not yet serve. The value of the deal has not been disclosed but (VDA) Senior VP, Sergey Shklyanik said the group refinanced (ACG)’s debts for €15 million/$19.5 million as part of the deal.

(VDA) subsidiary, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) will synchronize its schedule with (ACG), (ABC) Executive President, Tatyana Arslanova said. (ABC) will still attempt to get fifth-freedom rights for flights from Frankfurt Main to Chicago, Arslanova noted.

2nd 747-8HVF freighter delivery.

September 2012: INCDT: USA airplane safety investigators have called for grounding certain Boeing (TBC) 787s and 747-8s powered by General Electric (GEC) engines until they are inspected for cracks and also revealed that a cracked fan midshaft was discovered on a third engine last month.

The recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) offer the clearest explanation yet for the rash of zero- or low-time (GEnx) engine failures since 28 July.

The (NTSB) letter sent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also reveals that an analysis of the fan midshaft fractures do not point to metal fatigue as a likely cause. The fan midshaft connects the low pressure turbine to the fan and booster stages at the forward end of the engine.

Instead, the cracks in the critical engine component are "typical of environmentally assisted cracking of certain high strength alloys such as that used on the (GEnx) [fan midshaft]", the (NTSB) letter says. The (NTSB) is continuing to investigate what is triggering the environmentally assisted cracking. According to (GEC), such metals crack as a result of galvanic corrosion caused by a moist environment with the presence of hydrogen.

A potential trigger of the galvanic corrosion could have been revealed earlier. (GEC) said it has changed the coating process for the fan midshaft on the production line as a result of the engine failures. (GEC) says that the new coating process changes the dry film applied to the midshaft, and replaces the lubricant used when a retaining nut is clamped to the midshaft.

The (NTSB)'s letter to the (FAA) indicates all three engine failures discovered to date could be linked to the same cause.

The latest engine failure to be revealed actually was discovered during an ultrasound inspection on 13 August, but it was not disclosed to the public until now. The ultrasound check on the engine, which was installed on a 787 that had not been flown, revealed an indication of a "similar" crack on the fan midshaft.

The first such incident occurred on 28 July. An engine on an Air India (AIN) 787 in Charleston, South Carolina, failed in a low-speed taxi test. The flight crew (FC) was accelerating the 787 through 40 kt when the low-pressure speed rolled back on the No 2 engine. The flight crew (FC) aborted the test and a visual inspection revealed the first stage of the low pressure turbine had shifted backward, colliding into trailing stages.

Six weeks later, a 747-8F operated by AirBridgeCargo (ABC) with about 1,200 flight hours and 240 cycles, experienced a similar problem. As the airplane accelerated through 50 kt, the low-pressure turbine speed of the No 1 engine dropped. The flight crew (FC) rejected the take-off and an inspection revealed "extensive damage" to the low pressure turbine.

The (NTSB) highlighted the potential safety danger of repeated failures on low-time engines. The (NTSB)'s letter highlighted the "possibility that multiple engines on the same airplane could experience a [fan midshaft] failure".

In the event of an extended twin-engine flight over water, for example, the airplane would have to operate on only a single engine for up to 5.5 hrs, the (NTSB) letter says.

In response, (GEC) says that it has already recommended repetitive inspections to the (FAA) and is close to completing ultrasonic inspections of the fan midshaft for all (GEnx) engines in service.

Boeing (TBC) adds that is working with (GEC) to inspect nine 747-8Fs within a "few days" to complete ultrasound inspections on the operational (GEnx) fleet.

No cracks were found on a 747-8F freighter GE Aviation GEnx-2B engine that experienced a power loss during takeoff roll at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, preliminary investigations show.

In an updated statement later on the continuing investigation into a separate incident involving a (GEnx-1B) engine on a 787, the USA (NTSB) confirmed it was participating in the 747-8F investigation, which is being led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) (CAC). The 747-8F freighter was operated by AirbridgeCargo (ABC) and the incident occurred on September 11.

Attention has turned to the (GEnx)’s fan midshaft (FMS) after cracks were discovered on two (GEnx-1B) engines, but the cause of the fracture is still being established.

Examination of other pre-delivery engines revealed a second (GEnx-1B) engine with a cracked (FMS) that was installed on a 787-8 airplane that had not yet flown.

As part the (CAAC)’s investigation and in relation to the (NTSB)’s ongoing investigation of the July 28 engine failure, preliminary findings from the examination of the Shanghai incident engine revealed the (FMS) was intact and showed no indications of cracking. The examination and teardown of that engine is continuing under the direction of the (CAAC).

The USA (FAA) issued an airworthiness directive (AD) on all (GEnx) engines in light of the incidents. The (AD) requires initial and repetitive ultrasonic inspections of a particular part number (FMS). “We are issuing this (AD) to prevent failure of the (FMS) resulting in one or more engine failure(s) and possible loss of the airplane,” the (FAA) said.

The (AD) requires the (GEnx) (FMS)s be re-inspected at intervals of not more than 90 days.


October 2012: Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Technics (VDT), a sister company of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group, has launched an airplane line maintenance station at Frankfurt airport (FRA). (VDT) will provide line maintenance service for 747-200/300/400 airplanes. Later, it will add the 747-8 to its certificate as well as the 737 and A320 narrow bodies.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), also a part of the Volga-Dnepr Group, became (VDT)’s first customer at (FRA).

AirFrance Industries (AFI KLM E&M) has extended a long-term leasing contract for a (CF6-80C2) engine with AirBridgeCargo (ABC) as a spare for its 747-400F freighters.

January 2013: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), part of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group, has taken delivery of its third 747-8F freighter. The 747-8F will be used to replace older 747Fs and will be deployed on (ABC)’s existing network from its Moscow hub. (ABC)’s fleet now comprises five 747-400ERFs, three 747-400Fs and three 747-8Fs.

February 2013: AirBridgeCargo ((IATA) Code: RU, based at Ulyanovsk Vostochny (ULY)) (ABC) has apparently deferred the delivery of its fourth and fifth 747-8F freighters according to a report by "Cargo Facts" that quotes Volga-Dnepr Group President, Alexey Isaikin saying the group would be in negotiations with Boeing (TBC) about a delay to the 747-8F deliveries. One of the two 747-8Fs, (37669), that was scheduled to be delivered to AirBridgeCargo (ABC) as (VQ-BRH) and had already first flown in November 2012 has now been ferried by Boeing to Marana Pinal (MZJ) for temporary storage and has been registered to the manufacturer as (N769BA).

June 2013: Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) will base up to three Ilyushin Il-76TD-90VD freighters at Paris Vatry Airport. The airplane is a modernized version of older Il-76. The new airplane has increased payload and range, and is more efficient than the previous version. The lower noise and emissions levels allowed Volga-Dnepr airplanes to gain (ICAO) approval for global services by complying with all of (ICAO)’s current and prospective operating standards. This enables Volga-Dnepr (VDA)’s fleet to serve major markets around the world that banned old versions of the IL-76 in 2000, including Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia.

(VDA) invested $100 million in the fleet of five new airplanes.

According to (VDA) Sales Director, Dmitry Grishin, the new location was chosen because Paris-Vatry is within easy reach of European customers. Aéroport Paris-Vatry Director General, Youri Busaan said the partnership with Volga-Dnepr (VDA) will allow the airport to increase charter cargo volumes. More than >90% of Paris-Vatry’s cargo business comes from charter operations as the airport cargo infrastructure is available 24 hours a day.

July 2013: INCDT: Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia: — which is investigating a July 31 incident in which three out of four (GEnx) engines of an AirBridgeCargo (ABC) 747-8F lost power enroute from Russia to Hong Kong—has called the incident a dangerous situation and said it will team up with manufacturers Boeing (TBC) and General Electric (GEC) to determine the cause.

According to Rosaviatsia, the incident occurred as the 747-8F was flying in China during a thunderstorm at 39,000 ft when it encountered “unusual, unpredicted and insufficiently studied flight conditions that resulted in build-up of ice upon non-heated parts [of the] high pressure compressor. Later, this ice detached and entered engine airflow and resulted in engines surge and loss of power of two engines,” Rosaviatsia said. Further inspection revealed unacceptable damage of high pressure compressor blades on engines 1, 2 and 4. One of the engines was later air restarted, while two others were surged and shut down until the airplane made a safe emergency landing in Hong Kong.

“Because of insufficient understanding of the dangerous conditions, known as ice crystal icing, which is not detected by on board weather radar, Rosaviatsia believes it is mandatory to use all available design means capable to aid [in identifying] icing of airframe and engine elements at the earliest phases of its start-up and development in expected operational conditions,” according to a statement. “It is obligatory to take additional measures to define conditions of ice crystal icing development to avoid airplanes encountering this condition in flight.”

Rosaviatsia’s investigative commission said it will continue its investigation with airplane and engine manufacturers Boeing (TBC) and General Electric (GEC). “We had informed USA and (EU) aviation authorities on this dangerous incident. Currently, additional measures are being taken to change engine design and develop recommendations for the flight crews (FC)s on actions in such conditions,” Rosaviatsia said.

(ABC) believes the incident was aggravated by absence of any indication of the icing of the high pressure compressor elements. Russia’s largest cargo carrier operates 11 747s including three 747-8Fs, and expects delivery of two more before the end of the year.

August 2013: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) appointed Denis Ilin as Executive President, effective August 1. Ilin worked for several years as head of aviation for Basic Element, where his main responsibilities included aviation business development. He previously held several leadership roles in the Volga Dnepr (VDA) Group, including Manager of Volga Dnepr UK; General Director of (ABC); Strategic Management Advisor to (ABC)’s General Director; and Senior VP Strategic Marketing & Sales.

From May 2011, he was head of Russia’s first low-cost carrier (LCC) Sky Express, which left the market later that year. Ilin’s new responsibilities at (ABC) will be to further increase (ABC)’s effectiveness and to centralize business management.

(ABC) has appointed 40-year cargo industry veteran, Nagakazu Sagara as VP Japan & Korea.

September 2013: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) was entrusted with the movement of 34 paintings by the Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian worth in excess of >€130 million, onboard two flights from Amsterdam to Moscow. The shipment was under personal control of the Ministers of Culture of Holland & Russia. The paintings were carried on (ABC)’s 747-8F and 747-400ERF freighters.

(ABC) has taken delivery of its fourth brand new Boeing 747-8F Freighter from Boeing in Everett (USA). has taken delivery of its fourth brand new Boeing 747-8 Freighter from Boeing in Everett (USA).
The airplane will make its first commercial flight on the airline’s Chicago (USA) – Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – Moscow/Sheremetyevo (Russia) route, and will then be used on (ABC)’s existing route network linking Europe, Asia and the USA via AirBridgeCargo (ABC)’s hub in Moscow.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC)’s current fleet consists of 12 747 airplanes (five 747-400ERF, three 747-400F and four 747-8Fs).

November 2013: AirBridgeCargo (ABC) carried 92,000 tons of cargo in the third quarter, up +3% year-over-year. Freight load factor rose +2 points to 72% LF. (AFTK)s grew +15% and (FTK)s rose +18%.

(ABC) Executive President, Denis Ilin said the third-quarter results confirm the company strategy is on the right track.

(ABC) operates scheduled cargo routes connecting Europe, Asia, Russia, and North America. The company’s main route network is between Europe and Asia.

On November 7th, AirBridge Cargo (ABC) delivered its first load of Olympics freight to Sochi (host of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The flight operated by 747-8HVF (37580, VQ-BGZ) arrived from Moscow carrying 30 tonnes of cargo, including bobs, camera and video equipment plus tools (SEE PHOTO - - "ABC-2013-11 - OLYMPICS LOAD").

In the third quarter, (ABC) added a fourth Boeing 747-8F. The carrier’s fleet includes 11 Boeing 747s, including four 747-400ERFs and three 747-400Fs.

During the first nine months, (ABC) carried 310,947 tons of cargo, up +17% year-over-year.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC), a member of the Volga-Dnepr Group, increased Moscow - Paris (CDG) and Moscow - Milan Malpensa 747F service each from 3x- to 5x-weekly, beginning November 1.

December 2013: AirBridgeCargo (ABC) has received fifth freedom rights to operate 3x-weekly flights out of Shanghai to the USA, beginning in the next summer season. It has not yet specified routes in the USA, but it will land in Anchorage for technical stops. (ABC) has already had rights to operate flights from the USA to Europe and from Europe to Asia.

According to airline representatives, the new schedule will allow it to increase load-factors.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC) is the biggest cargo airline in Russia. During the first 10 months of 2013, it carried 346,667 tons of cargo, up +18.6% on the year-ago period. In the third quarter, (ABC)’s freight load factor rose +2 points to 72% LF. (ABC) is a part of Volga-Dnepr (VDA) cargo group.

747-8HVF (37670, VQ-BRJ), ex-(N959BA), Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) leased.

January 2014: Russian and German aviation authorities have approved Russia’s AirBridgeCargo (ABC) to operate 5th freedom flights from Frankfurt to the USA. (ABC) will be able to operate 3 flights per week from the German airport to any city in the USA. It is expected the 1st destination will be Frankfurt - Chicago.

German cargo carriers have 21x-weekly additional trans-Siberian frequencies, which will be used for flights from Frankfurt to Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Korea. The additional frequencies were agreed upon according to existing royalty rules. Foreign carriers have to pay fees to several Russian airlines, mainly to Aeroflot (ARO), to operate on routes over Siberia.

(ABC) has been seeking 5th freedom on Frankfurt to USA routes for 4 years. Last year, (ABC) received 5th freedom rights on Shanghai to USA routes.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), which is part of the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group, has taken delivery of its 5th new 747-8F. The new 747-8F will be used on (ABC)’s existing route network linking Europe, Asia and the USA via the (ABC)’s hub in Moscow.

February 2014: Russia and Finland aviation authorities have agreed to add +3 more destinations between the countries for Finnish and Russian carriers, comprising routes from Helsinki to Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara. 3 more routes will be discussed in the future. Both sides will also consider flights from Finland cities to Ufa, Perm, and Novosibirsk.

The 2 countries also removed restrictions for the number of airlines, type of airplanes, capacity and frequencies on the agreed-upon routes except to Helsinki, Moscow and St Petersburg. The same measure was agreed to with Israel earlier in February.

Russian all-cargo air carriers will be permitted to fly 7x-weekly frequencies on Russia to Helsinki routes and any 5 points in Europe from Helsinki with 5th freedom traffic rights.

Russian and Finnish all-cargo airlines will also be able to add 3 frequencies (one-and-a-half per side) on existing trans-Siberian routes.

Last year, Russia and Finland agreed to add 2nd designated carriers on Helsinki to Moscow routes; later, (S7) Airlines (SBR) received the designation from the Russian side.

Aviation authorities, who have been modernizing agreements regulating flights between Russia and other countries, have recently made changes on routes to the UK and Cyprus.

The Lufthansa (DLH) Group will benefit from a new agreement between Russian and German authorities, which last week approved Russia’s AirBridgeCargo (ABC) to operate 5th freedom flights 3x-weekly from Frankfurt to the USA.

AeroLogic (AGC), a joint venture (JV) of Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) and (DHL) Express (DHK), will also benefit from the agreement.

Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) spokesperson, Matthias Eberle confirmed “Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) will add 14 weekly crossings over Siberian airspace. Its joint venture (JV), AeroLogic (AGC), will add +13 additional weekly frequencies,” which results in cutting flying time and saving fuel burn.

Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) will be able to operate up to 30 roundtrips between Europe and the Far East per week by the shortest possible route. Lufthansa (DLH) Passenger Airline can also benefit from +13 additional weekly frequencies for its Asian routes.

Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) executive board member Andreas Otto said the Russian side receives traffic rights for 2x-weekly Frankfurt to USA flights and 1 charter flight.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC) can take advantage of these 3x-weekly transatlantic cargo flights on basis of 5th freedom rights from a number of German airports.

The agreement could be seen as a long-awaited compromise after a several years of traffic rights discussions. In 2007, Russian authorities suspended Lufthansa Cargo (LUB)’s right to fly over Russia.

Otto said that Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) is expecting a +5% tonnage growth in 2014 even though the air freight business remains challenging. “We see ourselves as well positioned,” Otto said.

April 2014: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) began Moscow (SVO) to Malmo and to Leipzig Boeing 747F weekly services.

The Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group announced 3 new appointments in its management team: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) Senior VP Sales & Marketing, Wolfgang Meier has been promoted to Group VP Marketing & Development. Robert van de Weg will join the group May 1 as Senior VP Marketing & Sales, based in Luxembourg. Peter van de Pas is also joining the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group as Senior VP Scheduled Operations.

May 2014: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) launched weekly, Moscow Sheremetyevo to Munich Boeing 747F service.

July 2014: AirBridgeCargo (ABC) reported a +16% increase in its 1st-half cargo volume. (ABC), which is a member of the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group, carried 188,354 tonnes on international routes during the period. Load factor reached 72% LF.

(ABC) said the improved results were due to network growth. In the USA, (ABC) launched flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and increased the number of flights to Chicago. In Europe, (ABC) started service to Leipzig, Munich, and Malmo. It also launched flights from Frankfurt to Chicago following the approval of 5th freedom flights from Frankfurt to the USA.

(ABC) also reported +13% growth in the first half on routes from other countries to Russia. Total volume reached 42,767 tonnes.

(ABC) Executive VP, Denis Ilyin said (ABC) continues to focus on the domestic market and the launch of domestic flights with Volga-Dnepr (VDA) subsidiary, Atran Boeing 737Fs. It plans to carry 400,000 tonnes before the end of 2014.

(ABC), Russia’s biggest cargo carrier, has 13 Boeing 747s in its fleet, comprising 5 747-400ERFs, 3 747-400Fs and 5 747-8Fs.

While (ABC)’s scheduled cargo business is growing, Volga-Dnepr (VDA)’s carrier cargo volume has dropped -39.9% during the 1st 5 months of 2014 to 14,964 tonnes.

Volga-Dnepr (VDA) specializes in charter flights with Antonov An-124 airplanes.

September 2014: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) began weekly, Moscow Sheremetyevo to Basel Boeing 747F service.

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia, has distributed the allocations of foreign pilots (FC) that Russian airlines can hire following the passage of air code amendments by the State Duma in April, allowing carriers to hire non-Russian pilots (FC).

In the next 12 months, Aeroflot (ARO) will be able to contract 80 pilots (FC); Transaero (TRX), 67; AirBridgeCargo (ABC), 16; UTair (TYU), 10; Metrojet and (VIM) Airlines (MOV), 7 each; Yakutia Airlines (SYL), 5; Saratov Airlines (SOV), 3; Avia Management Group, which operates Dexter Air Taxi, 1.

Russia’s aviation authorities, which is hoping to solve its pilot (FC) deficit problems, now allows 200 foreign captains and instructors to work for local airlines over the next 5 years. Airlines can contract captains (FC) with at least 3,000 flight hours and no fewer than 500 hours on the airplane type.

Before 2014, local airlines were only allowed to hire pilots (FC) who were Russian citizens.

October 2014: AirBridge Cargo (ABC) began weekly, Moscow Sheremetyevo to Basel Boeing 747-8F service.

(ABC) took delivery of its 6th Boeing 747-8F. (ABC) operates 13 freighters, including 4 747-400ERFs and 3 747-400Fs, in addition to the new 747-8Fs.

December 2014: News Item A-1: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has launched extra weekly Boeing 747F services to Munich, Milan, and Amsterdam in Europe, Hong Kong, and Shanghai in Asia. 2 additional weekly flights were added to Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth in North America.

News Item A-2: AirBridgeCargo (ABC) has commenced using Lufthansa Systems (LHS)' Lido/iRouteManual, Lido/Enroute and Lido/DocView Information Technology (IT) solutions, aimed at simplifying cockpit processes. (KLM) plans to fully switch to the electronic cockpit by February 2015.

News Item A-3: AirBridgeCargo (ABC) Airlines will switch to all electronic cockpits February 1 when it completes conversion to Lufthansa Systems (LHS)’ Lido/Route Manual, Lido/Enroute and Lido/DocView (IT) solutions.

The Apple iPad navigation apps include maps, takeoff and landing charts, instrument flight rules (IFR) charts and airport runway layouts. Required information can be downloaded at any time. Routes can be displayed on interactive charts through Enroute. DocView allows notifications from Operations Control.

February 2015: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) began 2x-weekly, Moscow (SVO) to Helsinki, Boeing 747F services, with a return through Frankfurt.

April 2015: AirBridgeCargo (ABC) has reported a +20% year-over-year cargo volume growth for the 1st quarter ended March 31. (ABC) carried 103,816 tonnes across its international route network connecting Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific through its hub in Moscow during the quarter.

(ABC) added more Boeing 747F freighter frequencies in the 2014/2015 winter season linking markets in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, via Moscow. In Europe, (ABC) (a part of Volga-Dnepr Group) has added frequencies to and from Munich, Milan, and Amsterdam. In Asia, (ABC) increased flights between Hong Kong and Shanghai, with an extra service per week on both routes. (ABC) airline currently operates scheduled flights to 26 destinations in 14 countries with a fleet of 14 747Fs.

“In January 2015, (ABC) started operations in Helsinki, and since the commencement of its summer schedule, it also launched Los Angeles and Hanoi services ahead of its initial business plan targets,” (ABC) Executive President, Denis Ilin said. “(ABC) also focused on cost efficiency by optimization of its network via hub business model, internal processes and cost management. Thus it achieved a -20% reduction in operational costs per landing for the 1st quarter of this year,” (ABC) (CFO) Igor Telpukhovskiy added.

In 2014, (ABC) carried 401,000 tonnes, a +17.6% increase year-on-year, with an average load factor of 72.6% LF. During the year, (ABC) launched new routes to Dallas/Fort Worth, Leipzig, Munich, and Basel.

While (ABC) increased its volume, its sister company Volga-Dnepr (VDA) reduced tonnage. According to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia, in January and February (VDA) carried 4,492 tonnes, down -12.3% year-over-year. In 2014, (VDA) carried 40,655 tonnes, down -24.5% over 2013. Volga-Dnepr (VDA) operates charter flights with Antonov An-124s.

May 2015: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) began 2x-weekly service to Los Angeles, in addition to Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth, as other North American points it serves. (ABC) also began 2x-weekly, Moscow Sheremetyevo to Hanoi cargo service.

June 2015: News Item A-1: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has extended its network to Vietnam with 2x-weekly freighter services from Hanoi. The flights leave Hanoi every Wednesday and Saturday bound for (ABC)'s hub ay Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport via Hong Kong. From Moscow, the flight connects to (ABC) destinations in Europe and the USA.

"AirBridgeCargo (ABC) believes that entering the Vietnamese market comes as a logical next step in developing the strategically important Asian market, said Robert van de Weg (ABC)'s Senior VP Sales & Marketing.

"For decades, the world has witnessed how Asia has transformed into the world's largest manufacturing power, while it has also become one of the largest global consumer markets. Vietnam's market development is another bright example of the region's strength and continued potential, and we are excited to start serving our customers there. We are confident that the new Hanoi service will complement our existing network and that this will benefit our clients."

News Item A-2: Volga-Dnepr Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Boeing (TBC) to order 20 747-8Fs valued at $7.4 billion at list prices.

The airplanes will be powered by (Genx-2B) engines, in an order valued at >$1.8 billion at list prices.

Volga-Dnepr, parent of cargo carriers Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA), AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) and Atran Airlines (VTR), currently operates 6 747-8Fs. The Volga-Dnepr Group and Boeing (TBC) said in a joint statement that the 20 747-8Fs to be ordered will allow scheduled service airline (ABC) to grow. The 747-8Fs “will be acquired through a mix of direct purchases and leasing over the next 7 years.”

The (MOU) also includes an agreement under which Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124-100 freighters will be available to provide heavy lift logistics support to Boeing (TBC) on a long-term basis.

July 2015: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has appointed Georges Biwer as VP (EMEA). He has >24 years of experience in air cargo.

September 2015: News Item A-1: "Russia issues New Foreign Pilot Allocations" by (ATW) Polina Montag-Grimes, September 16, 2015.

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia, has distributed new allocations of foreign pilots (FC) that Russian airlines can hire. Over the next 12 months, Aeroflot (ARO) will be able to contract 50 pilots (FC); AirBridgeCargo (ABC), 16; Nordwind (NWD), 5; Chukotavia, 1; (SKOL) Airline, 5.

Russian legislators made air code amendments allowing carriers to hire non-Russian pilots (FC) in April 2014 in an effort to address pilot (FC) shortages. As of September 2014, airlines have been allowed to hire 200 foreign pilots (FC) over 5 years. Airlines can contract captains with at least 3,000 flight hours and no fewer than 500 hours on the aircraft type.

Due to the fairly recent downward and stagnation trend in the Russian airline market, the pilot (FC) shortage problem has become less relevant for the carriers. According to Rosaviatsia, the quota for 123 foreign pilots (FC) in 2015 is not distributed.

Before 2014, Russian airlines were allowed to hire only pilots (FC) who were Russian citizens.

November 2015: News Item A-1: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), a member of the Volga-Dnepr Group, has added Boeing 747F 2x-weekly Atlanta service from Moscow.

News Item A-2: Boeing (TBC) delivered 2 747-8Fs (60117, /15 VQ-BFU; 60118, /15 VQ-BFE) to AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), part of the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group. The airplanes are the 1st to be delivered as part a memorandum of understanding between (TBC) and the (VDA) Group at the Paris Air Show in June 2015.

The airplanes will be deployed on the expanding network under winter schedule 2015/2016, between Asia and the USA.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC) Executive President Denis Ilyin said, “For the Volga Dnepr Group, adding more new generation 747-8Fs will allow us to secure further development of the Group’s scheduled business, (ABC) Airlines, and keep (ABC)’s high growth rates.”

Including this delivery, (ABC)’s fleet comprises 8 747-8Fs, 5 747-400ERFs, and 2 747-400Fs.

December 2015: News Item A-1: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has renewed its (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate for a further 2 years following a 5-day inspection by independent auditors.

According to (ABC), the 3-stage audit comprises: preparation, audit and deficiencies rectification. Inspectors reviewed (ABC)’s flight performance, operating control, maintenance and ground handling, aviation security and quality management.

(ABC) said it continually conducts the 1st stage on a daily basis as part of a focus on safety standards. An (IATA)-accredited French audit company conducted the 2nd stage. During the audit, inspectors checked (ABC)’s compliance with >800 (IOSA) standards and sent the final results to (IATA).

“(IOSA) is a global air industry benchmark for quality and safety,” (ABC) Executive President Denis Ilyin said. “This certificate is a further demonstration of AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC)’s commitment to providing reliable cargo services to its international customers.”

(ABC) 1st became (IOSA)-certified in 2012.

News Item A-2: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) will focus on USA to Asia connections in 2016. (ABC) intends to increase connectivity options via its Moscow hub to all USA destinations from Asia. According to an (ABC) carrier statement, (ABC) will expand and enhance its expansion by introducing additional frequencies in major markets. Also, (ABC) will continue investing in expanding its fleet.

In 2015, (ABC) has taken delivery of 2 new 747-8Fs, which were delivered under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. (ABC)’s fleet now includes 8 747-8Fs.

From January - November, (ABC)’s cargo volume reached 439,000 tonnes, up +20% year-over-year. (ABC)’s growth in 2015 has been supported by the addition of more prime cargo routes and connectivity across the network, as well as the introduction of additional frequencies on existing routes.

In the Asia-Pacific, new services to and from Singapore and Hanoi have extended (ABC)’s network in the region to 9 online stations. In Europe, (ABC) launched services to Helsinki, while its coverage in North America has been enhanced by adding Los Angeles and Atlanta service. (ABC) now provides >600 weekly connections with 48-hour delivery time for any published scheduled hub connection.

“In 2015, (ABC) continued following its growth strategy, which is based on a combination of operating a highly efficient fleet, network expansion to the points of production and consumption, developing niche destinations with limited belly capacity but stable cargo flows,” (ABC) Executive President Denis Ilin said.

April 2016: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) added a 3x-weekly Boeing 747F service to Singapore.

May 2016: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) reported 1st-quarter 2016 cargo tonnage growth of +27% over 1st quarter 2015. (ABC) carried 132,000 tonnes in the 1st 3 months of 2016 on international cargo routes. (FTK)s rose +23%.

“We did a lot of work last year to stay inch-close to our clients and it’s great to see that (ABC)’s developments back in 2015 continue to pay off in terms of the results we have achieved in the 1st quarter of this year. Retaining this flexibility will be crucial for (ABC) in 2016 as, together with the company’s global expansion, it will be an additional instrument to respond to market volatility, which presents both risks and opportunities. This year we will ‘shape up’ the services we started last year and plan on more investments in special services,” (ABC) Executive President Denis Ilyin said.

(ABC) flies an all-Boeing 747F fleet. In 2015, (ABC) added Singapore, Hanoi, Helsinki, Los Angeles, and Atlanta to its network. It also increased its Tokyo services to 4x-weekly. In 2016, it has increased Singapore to 3x-weekly and has launched operations to Africa through a partnership with CargoLogicAir.

July 2016: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) began weekly Moscow (SVO) to Phnom Penh Boeing 747F service increasing its number of destinations in SE Asia to 11.

August 2016: "AirBridgeCargo Receives Fifth-freedom Designations" by (ATW) Polina Montag-Girmes, montag.girmes@gmail.com August 26, 2016.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has been granted 5th-freedom designations by local authorities to perform cargo flights from Russia via European hubs to the USA.

Russia’s federal air-transport agency Rosaviatsia published the designations. (ABC) can perform service from Moscow via Amsterdam or Frankfurt-Main, Munich or Leipzig, Germany.

USA destinations include Chicago; New York; Houston; Miami; Dallas; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Atlanta; Seattle; Columbus, Ohio; Boston; and Washington.

(ABC) also received the designation for flights from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, via Amsterdam to Chicago, New York, Houston, Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles. It also received authorization for Moscow to Houston to Luxembourg to Abu Dhabi to Moscow routes. All the designations include 5th-freedom rights at each service segment.

(ABC) has been obtaining approvals for various international cargo services during the last several years, developing a network that is able to connect Europe, North America, and Asia.

(ABC)`s parent company, the Volga-Dnepr Group finalized terms of acquisition with Boeing for 20 747-8Fs valued at approximately $7.58 billion at list prices at the recent Farnborough International Airshow. 4 747-8Fs have been delivered.

Additionally, it was announced the group will provide long-term logistics support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) and its partners, using Boeing 747-8F and Antonov An 124-100 freighters.

October 2016: "Seattle Welcomes AirBridgeCargo (ABC)" "Airways" October 10, 2016.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC) became the newest cargo operator into Seattle (Sea-Tac) with the welcome of brand new (ABC) 747-8F (1536-63378, /16 VP-BBL). The new service will include 2x-weekly flights to Moscow via Amsterdam and Frankfurt, respectively.

(ABC) is the 7th new carrier to begin service into SeaTac in 2016 after Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary AeroLogic, (ABX) and (DHL) on the cargo side and Spirit (SPR), Volaris (VLS) and Xiamen Airlines (XIA) on the passenger side. Virgin Atlantic (VAA) will start in March 2017. (ABC) has an all-Boeing fleet with 18 freighter airplanes, 17 of which are 747Fs

Last year the Port of Seattle spent $23 million in facility upgrades at SeaTac.

November 2016: AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has gained (IATA)´s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) certificate.

The certification allows the global transportation of pharma products via (ABC)’s cargo base at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport.

(ABC) completed its preparation for (CEIV) certification within 4 months. As part of this, (ABC) arranged for specialized training for 200 employees. (ABC) has become the 7th in the world (the 1st in Russia) with a (CEIV) Pharma certificate. “The transportation of temperature-sensitive pharma shipments is one of the fastest-growing air cargo markets, driven by global demand for healthcare and life-science products,” (ABC) said. “We are confident that this confirmation will allow us to increase our volumes of pharma products across our international route network. It will also help us to attract additional transit cargo via Sheremetyevo Airport on the Europe to Asia trade lane,” (ABC) Director General Sergey Lazarev said.

Sheremetyevo Airport is supporting (ABC)’s development program. A new, 47,000 sq meter/506,000 sq ft automated cargo terminal will be commissioned in 2017. The $85 million terminal will initially be capable of handling up to 380,000 tons of cargo per year, with the potential to expand to 1 million tons per year, airport (CEO) Mikhail Vasilenko said.

The Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group, (ABC)´s parent company, announced its partnership with Sheremetyevo Airport in April.

January 2017: Moscow-based cargo carrier Atran Airlines (VTR), which is part of the Volga-Dnepr (VDA) Group, has received approval for 7x-weekly Moscow to Frankfurt service, according to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency.

(VTR) is the group’s regional and express cargo airline; it operates a fleet of Boeing 737-400F freighters.

AirBridgeCargo (ABC), another member of the Volga-Dnepr Group, is now the 2nd biggest cargo carrier in Frankfurt. The number of flights operated by (ABC) from Frankfurt has >1,000 a year. In 2014, Russian and German aviation authorities approved 5th freedom flights for (ABC) to operate from Frankfurt to the USA.

October 2017: (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF) acquired a Boeing 747-8F freighter from Boeing Capital Corporation and will continue the existing airplane lease with AirBridgeCargo (ABC).


Click below for photos:
ABC-747-406ER PH-CKD 2017-04.jpg
ABC-747-4EVF 35170 2016-06.jpg
ABC-747-830F VQ-BFU 2018-04.jpg
ABC-747-8F - 2012-01
ABC-747-8F - 2013-10
ABC-747-8F - 2013-11
ABC-747-8F - 2015-11.jpg
ABC-747-8F VQ-BRJ 2017-11.jpg
ABC-747-8HVF - 2012-01

September 2018:


0 747-243F (SCD) (CF6-50E2) (545-22545, /81 VP-BIA), EX-(ALI), ADVENTAR LEASED 2004-04. RETURNED, LEASED TO (CGB) 2008-04. FREIGHTER.

0 747-243B (SF) (CF6-50E2) (492-22506, /80 VP-BIB), ADVENTAR LEASED 2004-09. RETURNED, LEASED TO (CGB) 2007-10. FREIGHTER.

2 747-281F (CF6-50E2) (818-24576, /90 VP-BII; 886-25171, /91 VP-BIJ), CLEXTREL LTD LEASED 2007-03. FREIGHTER.

0 747-329F (CF6-50E2) (810-24837, /90 VP-BIC), EX-(AID), (GAX) LEASED 2005-08. RETIRED 2009-11. FREIGHTER.

1 747-4EVF (CF6-80C2B5F) (1376-35170, VQ-BUU, 2016-06), FREIGHTER.

1 747-4HAFER (CF6-80C2B5F) (1402-35237, /08 VP-BIM), GUGGENHEIM (GUG) LEASED, (VDA) WET-LEASED 2008-04. FREIGHTER.

2 747-4KZF (1411-36784, /08 VQ-BHE, 2008-12; 1418-36785, VQ-BIA, 2010-07), EX-(CGB)/(NCA). FREIGHTER.

1 747-428ERF (CF6-80C2B5F) (1317-33096, /02 VQ-BFX), (AFA) 5 YEAR LEASED 2009-11. FREIGHTER.

1 747-446F (CF6-80C2B1F) (1352-33749, /04 VQ-BJB), EX-(JAL), EX-(N402NL), 2010-12. FREIGHTER.

2 747-46NFER (SCD) (CF6-80C2B5F) (1395-35420, /07 VP-BIG - SEE PHOTO; 1400-35421, /08 VP-BIK), (GEF) LEASED. FREIGHTER.

8 +2 OPTIONS 747-8HVF (GEnx-2B67) (37580, VQ-BGZ; 1448-37581, VQ-BLQ, 2012-01 - - SEE PHOTO - - "ABC-747-8HVF - 2012-01;" VQ-BRH; 1463-37669, VQ-BRH, 2016-10; 1482-37670, VQ-BRJ, 2013-12; VQ-BVR), (VDA) LEASED. FREIGHTER.

4 +16 ORDERS 747-830F (Genx-2B) (60117, /15 VQ-BFU, 2015-11; 1502-60118, /15 VQ-BFE 2015-11; 1536-63378, /16 VP-BBL, 2016-10; 2017-10), 1 (GEF) LEASED 2017-10. FREIGHTER:

1 +4 ORDERS IL-76TD-90VD (PS-90A-76). FREIGHTER.

2 IL-96-400T (PC-90A1), FREIGHTER.


Click below for photos:


Denis worked for several years as head of aviation for Basic Element, where his main responsibilities included aviation business development. He previously held several leadership roles in the Volga Dnepr (VDA) Group, including Manager of Volga Dnepr UK; General Director of (ABC); Strategic Management Advisor to (ABC)’s General Director; and Senior VP Strategic Marketing & Sales.

From May 2011, he was head of Russia’s 1st low-cost carrier (LCC) Sky Express, which left the market later that year.

Ilin’s new responsibilities at (ABC) will be to further increase (ABC)’s effectiveness and to centralize business management.









Georges has >24 years of experience in the air cargo industry.






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