Volga-Dnepr to cut 100 jobs and reduce An-124 fleet, report claims

By Rachelle Harry

In a move that reflects challenging airfreight market conditions, Volga-Dnepr will reportedly take one or two of its An-124 aircraft out of action 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 make the job cuts.

The cuts will affect Volga-Dnepr only and will not impact AirBridgeCargo and Atran, which are also part of the wider Volga-Dnepr Group, the report states. Volga-Dnepr currently employs 1,500 people, it adds.

Meanwhile, according to Flight Radar, six of the airline’s An-124s have made flights during the last week or so

Although Volga-Dnepr confirmed to Air Cargo News last week its 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 RIA report also stated that the airline is planning to carry out upgrades to four of its An-124s to increase their capacity to 150 tonnes from the standard 130 tonnes. Work on one of the aircraft is already complete.

On October 16, Air Cargo News reported that Volga-Dnepr Group had initiated an optimisation plan to meet tough market conditions.

“As we are in market downturn stage and [the] forecast for next year is not rosy, yes, we are running [an] optimisation and staff reduction programme,” the company stated.

But there were signs of trouble even earlier in the year. In August, the Volga-Dnepr Group announced that it would restructure its management team after a tough first half of the year with performance below expectation.

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

Meanwhile, a report in Russian publication Ulnovosti claimed that the company was not immediately able to pay employees for September and that it is $200m in debt.

The report also claimed that workers in Ulanovsk had been asked to accept no pay until January and that lenders will consider their options if the situation does not improve by the end of the year.

In response, the company said that salaries for September had been paid and that it is able to meet contractual obligations with customers and suppliers.

 

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