In Tough Cargo Market, Volga-Dnepr Reports Growth

July 21, 2008
Volga-Dnepr Group continued its strong financial growth in the first half of 2008 with record revenues for its air charter and scheduled cargo operations

Volga-Dnepr Group continued its strong financial growth in the first half of 2008 with record revenues for its air charter and scheduled cargo operations.

Air charter increased by 91% and scheduled cargo operations by nearly 180% towards a total Group turnover of $840 million. In the three prior years, the Group reported consecutive 50%+ per annum growth and, in 2007, exceeded sales revenues of $1 billion for the first time in its 17-year history.

For the January 1-June 30, 2008 period, Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ air charter operations achieved sales of $600 million, a 91% growth over the $314 million reported for the first half of last year. Interim results also show that the Group’s scheduled cargo business, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) gained nearly 180% of new sales over the six month period from $117 million in 2007 to $212 million in the first half of 2008.

“Despite such significant challenges as unprecedented fuel prices for the airline industry, we are going to achieve record performance figures by the end of the year.” said Alexey Isaikin, president of Volga-Dnepr Group.

The Group’s increase in income is supported by the successful development of its air cargo charter operations using AN-124-100 and IL-76 freighter aircraft. Volga-Dnepr Airlines, the world’s largest carrier of outsize and heavyweight air cargo, successfully completed 3,063 flights in the first half of 2008, compared to 2,105 a year earlier. Major destinations for charter services so far this year have been the Middle East and Africa.

This significant increase in the number of air charter flight operations reflects strong demand for the airline’s unique AN-124 freighter services, notably on behalf of government bodies and customers in the aerospace and oil and gas sectors, according to Volga Dnepr. The Volga-Dnepr fleet consists of 10 AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft and 14 IL-76s, including two modernized IL-76TD-90VD versions of the aircraft that have been approved by ICAO for worldwide operations.

Flights operated by the Group’s AN-124-100 freighters generated $463 million of total charter revenues – compared to $250 million in the opening six months of 2007 - while IL-76 operations saw half-year sales revenues climb to $137 million.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines’ scheduled all-cargo services also achieved significant growth in operational performance. The airline transported 62,000 tons of cargo in the January-June 2008 period, compared to 39,400 tons in the half-year of 2007. ABC continues to expand and upgrade its fleet, most recently taking delivery of new Boeing 747-400ERF aircraft in February and April 2008. In total, AirBridgeCargo’s fleet consists of seven Boeing 747 freighter aircraft serving major points in Europe, Russia and Asia.

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