Volga-Dnepr and Virgin Show Growth

Volga-Dnepr enjoyed a huge boost in sales last year as Virgin begins regular Australia to the US service.

Russian air cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr Group announced a 46% increase in sales for 2008 from its charter and scheduled air cargo services to US$1.4 billion. Virgin's V Australia will start three-times-a-week service between Sydney and Los Angeles, increasing to daily in March 2009.

The Volga-Dnepr Group (www.volga-dnepr.com), which owns Volga-Dnepr Airlines and AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Russia’s leading international scheduled cargo airline, reported a 25% rise in cargo tonnage for the year compared to 2007. The Group transported 267,000 tons of cargo over the 12 month period, while freight ton kilometers (FTKs) rose 32% to 1,720,060 thousand FTKs. (One FTK equals one ton of freight moved one kilometer.)

In other news, Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) has been awarded the contract to manage the cargo product for Australia’s brand new long-haul airline, V Australia.

V Australia is the long-haul arm of the Australian domestic carrier Virgin Blue, which will start operating three times a week between Sydney and Los Angeles, increasing to daily on March 29, 2009. Flight VA1 will depart from Sydney 9:30 pm, arriving in Los Angeles 4:30 pm the same day. VA2 will depart Los Angeles at 11:00 pm, arriving into Sydney at 9:15 am the next day.

In April the airline will also start operating flights between Brisbane to Los Angeles. Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will operate the new services.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo's existing USA operation will handle the new services to Sydney from Los Angeles, a key airfreight gateway which Virgin have served for over 18 years.

“We are absolutely delighted that the team at V Australia have awarded us this contract and have the confidence in us to deliver them a world class cargo product for their operation. This is an exciting opportunity, which links our existing networks into Australia and the USA,” said John Lloyd, director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo has been operating in Sydney since December 2004 offering daily flights to London via Hong Kong. The newly created cargo team took over the management of these services from Air Cargo Partners on the January 15, 2009.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo currently operates to 30 direct destinations out of London including Shanghai, Nairobi, Dubai, Mumbai, Delhi, Lagos, Tokyo, New York JFK and Newark, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Miami, Sydney, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Barbados, Antigua, Havana and Kingston and to over 150 forwarding destinations worldwide.

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