A 6% cargo volume decline has led to a shake-up for Volga-Dnepr Group, the managing company for three air cargo carriers — AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) and ATRAN Airlines (ATRAN).
Volga-Dnepr’s Board of Directors has appointed Nikolay Glushnev general director of AirBridgeCargo. Glushnev was most recently director of operations for ABC. In a short statement announcing the change, the company said Glushnev’s “key focus will be to restore ABC customers’ confidence.”
“[Volga-Dnepr Group] believes that the decisions aimed at restructuring of [the] management team and increase of [the] operational effectiveness will allow the group to get back to the growth strategy this year,” the company said.
Glushnev replaces Survey Lazarev.
Lazarez joined ABC in 2013 as operations director, becoming general director in 2015. During his tenure, the airline set a record with over 100 touchdowns in Frankfurt, Germany, in a single month during 2015 and earned Best Overall Carrier of the Year at the Payload Asia Awards. The following year saw a 30% year-over-year rise in tonnage for January 2016 and a third weekly flight to Singapore added. Service was added to Oslo, Norway; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Karaganda, Kazakhstan; Seattle; Houston; London; and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Tonnage growth continued as the airline posted its 13th straight year of increase in 2017, and in the last five years, compound average tonnage growth has been 12%. But that changed in the first half of 2019 amid a global slowdown.
The Volga-Dnepr Group statement said that first half cargo volume was 2,586,382 thousand freight ton kilometers — 20% below expectations. It cited a decline in the world cargo market, overcapacity and operational hurdles that affected performance, leading to the management change.
According to world cargo volume data from WorldACD, global chargeable weight was down 8.9% in June following a nearly 5% drop in May and has not seen a positive month-over-month increase since October 2018, when it was up about 2%.
The International Air Transport Association said that industry-wide freight ton kilometers fell 4.8% in June, the eighth straight month of decline.
ABC began operations in 2004, operating five scheduled flights from Russia with two Boeing 747 aircraft. Five years later, it added more aircraft and expanded its operations. In the last five years, it has expanded its specialty services for temperature-controlled cargo, dangerous goods, oversized and heavy items, and live animals. The company now flies to more than 35 major cargo hubs around the world with a fleet of 18 Boeing 747 freighters, moving goods between Asia, Europe and the U.S.
Based in Russia, Volga-Dnepr Group’s airlines operate 41 freighters globally for customers in the aerospace, energy, oil and gas, humanitarian and other industries.