PHOTO: Aviastar-TU changes the livery on one of its Tupolev Tu-204s

Aviastar-TU Delivering cargo for both European and Chinese customers, remains one of the expansion priorities for Aviastar-TU (Alexander Samsonov)

Russian airfreight carrier Aviastar-TU has repainted one of its Tupolev Tu-204s. Instead of the company’s traditional grey-orange livery, the aircraft, with tail number RA-64032, is now sporting the white-blue colours of Cainiao Smart Logistics Network (Cainiao Network), the logistics arm of China’s Alibaba Group, together with the company’s name on the fuselage.

According to the carrier’s information, last year Aviastar-TU launched scheduled flights from Hangzhou to Riga under a contract with On Time, a division of the Cainiao group. Previously, the airline revealed to ATO.ru, Russian Aviation Insider’s sister publication, that the launch of a scheduled flight programme from Europe to China and back, delivering cargo for both European and Chinese customers, remains one of the expansion priorities for Aviastar-TU.

Currently the carrier operates a fleet of three Boeing 757-200Fs and four Tupolev Tu-204s, two of which are owned by Russian Post and one, with tail number RA-64024, operates scheduled flights for the international express delivery company DHL.

In the eight months of 2019 the airline transported some 18,400 tonnes of freight and post, a 13.9 per cent year-on-year increase. As a result, Aviastar-TU has now become Russia’s sixth largest cargo carrier.

Less than a year ago Cainiao Network announced its partnership with Volga-Dnepr Group (VDG), the Russia-headquartered ensemble of specialist airfreight carriers. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the aim of jointly building a global logistics network to meet increasing demands in that market.

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