AirBridgeCargo and CargoLogicAir to cancel freighter connections

Volga-Dnepr Group (VDG) subsidiary AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) and partner airline CargoLogicAir will cancel a total of eleven freighter connections as of November 1, writes Oliver Link in Air Cargo News sister title DVZ.

According to the leading German logistics newspaper, five of these routes concern UK-registered CargoLogicAir. The remaining six routes are those operated by ABC, the scheduled carrier owned by Russian-based VDG. In addition, three routes will be re-routed by ABC.

In a customer letter seen by DVZ, ABC commercial director Alexey Zotov states that the airline has “optimised its flight schedule in order to improve the quality of service”.

The cancellations concern seven connections ex Europe and four connections departing from ABC’s Moscow Sheremetyevo hub. In addition, three connections will be re-routed.

The cancelled flights concern four freighter connections ex Frankfurt (to Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta, Chicago via Atlanta and Oslo) and one each ex-Munich (to Moscow Sheremetyevo) and Liège (to Moscow Sheremetyevo).

The four cancelled flights ex Moscow-Sheremetyevo concern three connections from ABC (to Dhaka via Shanghai; Incheon via Tokyo-Narita and to Beijing) and one from CargoLogicAir (to Hong Kong).

The newly routed connections concern the ABC connections from Munich to Moscow Sheremetyevo (to be replaced by the Los Angeles-Frankfurt-Moscow connection); Amsterdam via Munich to Moscow (to be replaced by the Amsterdam-Moscow connection) and the Leipzig to Moscow connection via Paris (to be replaced by the Leipzig to Moscow connection).

In a move that reflects challenging airfreight market conditions, it was reported last week that Volga-Dnepr, the heavylift and project cargo airline of VDG, will take one or two of its An-124 freighter aircraft out of service and make 100 job cuts.

According to Russian Aviation Insider (RIA), the airline has reduced its An-124 fleet from 12 to eight aircraft over the past two years and will now place up to two more in storage as well as making the job cuts.

Although Volga-Dnepr confirmed to Air Cargo News two weeks ago that it plans to make job cuts in response to tough market conditions, it did not put a number on the losses nor did it mention plans to put aircraft into storage.

The Volga-Dnepr Group had already announced that it will restructure the business after performance in the first half of the year was below expectations.

The group said that its restructuring plan was aimed at quality enhancement, cost reduction and the development of specialist services.

The group added that the changes come as the three carriers saw cargo volumes decline by 6% year on year to 2.6bn freight tonne km in the first half. This is 20% below expectations and budget.

“Decrease of the world cargo market, overcapacity and operational hurdles prevented the Group’s businesses profitability,” the airline group said.

Meanwhile, CargoLogicAir saw its revenues almost double last year but losses deepened.

According to figures released earlier this month (October), the B747 freighter operator reported a 99% year-on-year increase in revenues for the 2018 calendar year to £213.7m, but its net loss reached £18m, compared with £2.5m in 2017, and its operating loss stood at £17.8m.

The increase in revenues was down to the expansion of its fleet – from three B747Fs by the end of 2017 to four B747Fs by the end of last year – and the resultant increase in flights and services.

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