Volga-Dnepr Group and Astral partner to serve humanitarian sector

By Rachelle Harry

Freighter operators Volga-Dnepr Group and Astral Aviation have formed a partnership to support the humanitarian sector and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

The companies, who recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),  said the humanitarian partnership will support not only Covid-19 and other vaccines’ distribution — mainly between Russia and Africa — but will also cover ancillary supplies, healthcare products and emergency response relief.

Additionally, the partnership will support the distribution of perishable exports from Africa.

Astral Aviation and Volga-Dnepr Group’s carriers will cooperate to provide scheduled and chartered freighter flights powered by their  “diversified fleet of freighters”.

Astral Aviation operates Boeing 747s, Boeing 727s, a Fokker 27F, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30CFs and a Boeing 767.

Meanwhile, freighter aircraft owned by Volga-Dnepr Group — the parent company of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Atran Airlines and AirBridgeCargo — include among others AN 124-100s, Boeing 747s, Boeing 737s and Ilyushin-76-TD-90-VDs.

Yulia Celetaria, global healthcare director at Volga-Dnepr Group, commented: “Volga-Dnepr Group and Astral Aviation Limited have both extensive experience when it comes to working with UN agencies, public entities, authorities and not for profit organisations. That, together with companies’ competence, healthcare capabilities and proven track record of successful pharma transportations will enable us to significantly enhance the distribution of vaccines across the African continent which will result in acceleration of vaccination rate.

“Apart from vaccines, we will also work under a synchronised flow of goods making sure that vaccines and ancillary supplies are delivered together to support the ongoing vaccination programme.

“This cooperation resonates with the basic values of the group which are health support, collaboration and bringing value through our products and services’.”

Sanjeev Gadhia, chief executive of Astral Aviation, added: “The cooperation with Volga-Dnepr Group brings new opportunities in the distribution of humanitarian cargoes and Covid-19 vaccines, to and within Africa, which will provide an efficient air-bridge to the UN and Aid agencies.

“We are honored to partner with Volga-Dnepr Group which is a world leader in the global market for the movement of oversize, unique and heavy air cargo.

“We look forward to enhancing our commercial co-operation in the near future to include the air-transport of perishables from Nairobi to Liege to meet the growing demand for flowers and vegetables during the pandemic.”

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