Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group carriers in sweeping multi-$billion freighters orders

Volga-Dnepr Group The Russian air cargo transportation giant has confirmed its order for five B747-8Fs and the company also intends to acquire 29 Boeing 777 freighters (VD)

US planemaker Boeing, Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding have jointly announced a sweeping new freighters package covering a string of brand new B777 freighters, additional B747-8 freighters, and a crew optimisation management service.

The Russian air cargo transportation giant has confirmed its order for five factory-fresh B747-8 cargo jets valued at $2 billion and the company also intends to acquire 29 Boeing 777 freighters valued at US$9.8 billion.

According to a Boeing statement the agreement reinforces all parties’ commitment to greater productivity, safety, protecting the environment and operational stability. The package of agreements “will further optimise the cargo transportation leaders’ aircraft fleet and global operations,” it points out.

The deals specifically include a letter of intent for the Russian business to acquire 29 Boeing 777 freighters, the confirmation of an order for five Boeing 747-8 freighters, and also the purchase of a ‘crew pairing solution’ – as well as a far-reaching agreement to work closely together on future freighter projects.

“This is a very significant day in our company’s history. With this package of agreements, we will grow our business with the unique and unmatched B747-8F – and open new market opportunities with the B777 freighter, the world’s longest range twin-engine cargo jet,” Alexey Isaykin, president of Volga-Dnepr Group and chairman of CargoLogicHolding enthuses.

“And we will work with Boeing to [jointly] develop new freighter solutions that will help us continue to serve the unique and fast-changing requirements of our global customers,” he adds.

Volga-Dnepr Group is already among the world’s leading operators of the Boeing 747 freighter. The Group, and its subsidiaries and strategic partners, have successfully leveraged the jet’s unique cargo-loading and cargo-carrying characteristics to build a global network for transporting unique, oversize and heavy cargo, as well as general containerised cargo shipments and, in particular, temperature-sensitive and other delicate items.

Volga-Dnepr’s plan to bring additional B747-8 freighters to its fleet is affirmed by its commitment to purchasing five more of the hi-tech jets, in a deal valued at $2 billion at current list prices. “We are true believers in the B747-8 freighter. It is a very special aircraft. We fly it every day and we understand why operators around the world want more of them,” Isaykin adds.

While the Group and its partners have largely built their businesses on very large four-engine freighters, it now plans to expand its future fleet options with a commitment for the twin-engined B777 freighter too. CargoLogicHolding is to order 29 B777 freighters, in a deal valued at $9.8 billion according to current list prices. The B777’s range and its significant cargo capacity promises to open up new network and growth opportunities, the company believes.

“CargoLogicAir, part of CargoLogicHolding, started its business by flying B747F scheduled and charter flights to and from the UK. We are excited to extend the network using a range of Boeing family aircraft, including B747-8Fs, B777Fs, B767Fs and the B737-800BCF,” Isaykin adds.

The package of agreements also includes a commitment for both companies to explore alternative freighter solutions, such as new production B767 freighters or passenger-to-freighter conversions of jets such as the B737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter.

With the recent resurgence of the airfreight market’s commercial stability – global demand grew nearly 10 per cent last year – Boeing has seen a big spike in interest for its cargo jets and has this year captured more than 100 new orders and commitments for production and converted freighters.

Naturally, Boeing is delighted with the huge Russian commitment. “We are extremely honoured that Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding have once again placed their trust in Boeing’s freighter family to carry their business into the future,” says Kevin McAllister, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We look forward to expanding our relationship with our great partners and delivering new freighters to them for many years to come,” he adds.

Volga-Dnepr Group also uses the Boeing Global Services management tool to improve its offering for customers. This includes offerings such as Fuel Dashboard, Electronic Charting, Airport Moving Map and other advanced services, many of which are powered by Boeing AnalytX.

Another part of the agreements is that Boeing Global Services will provide Volga-Dnepr Group airline AirBridgeCargo with a Crew Pairing solution to support the planning and operation of the airline’s 300 crew members. This helps to optimise work duties, improving crew efficiency and airline productivity.

“This service puts the most advanced data analytics capabilities at Volga-Dnepr’s disposal as they operate the most advanced freighters in the world. It’s a prime example of how Boeing integrates services solutions with the platform to help customers work better, work faster and save on operating costs,” states Ihssane Mounir, senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing for The Boeing Company.

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