Moscow-based AirBridgeCargo, the scheduled-service subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group, reported 2014 cargo volume up 17.6% over 2013 to 401,000 tonnes.
While volume growth in prior years was not as high as the 17.6% seen in 2014, AirBridge nonetheless has achieved compound annual volume growth of 11% over the past five years – no mean feat in a period that saw demand worldwide either stagnant or declining for much of the time.
This puts AirBridge into the club with the big Gulf Region carriers (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, and, to some extent, Saudia) and Turkish Airlines — carriers which have expanded their cargo operations through difficult times through a combination of geographic good fortune and a willingness to treat cargo seriously.
AirBridge, as an all-cargo operator, has no choice but to be serious about cargo, but it has also used its Moscow base as a hub through which to connect first Asia and Europe, but now also North America. And, like the other members of the club, AirBridge has taken market share from Western European and Asian carriers (although, recently the Asian carriers have begun to see their cargo traffic grow, as well).
Over the course of 2014, AirBridge added two freighters, a 747-8F and a 747-400ERF, and currently has another -400ERF on order. Once this latter unit enters service, AirBridge will operate a fourteen-unit freighter fleet, made up of six 747-8Fs, five 747-400ERFs, and three 747-400Fs.