Home»Blog»Volga-Dnepr’s Big Step

The Pairs Air Show passed in June of this year, but the lasting effects of such big decisions are present even as far out as 2025. With Volga-Dnepr, a cargo carrier based in Ulyanovsk, Russia, making a historic order of 21 747-8F aircraft, the face of freight will change in the coming years. This monumental order seems to be a win-win situation for Boeing and the cargo airline as it springs up the development of the new 747 up to 51 aircraft on order and makes a stable boost in fleet integration/retirement for Volga-Dnepr. Through the coming years, from as early as 2020, the airline’s 747-400F and 747-400ERF contracts will expire and ownership of the aircraft will change out of Volga-Dnepr’s position. The timing is such that with roughly three new 747-8Fs delivered per year to the carrier, a smooth transition out of the -400 family will yield stellar growth in the network and size of the airline. But why the -8F in the first place? With fuel costs soaring and quad engine aircraft quickly being replaced with newer fuel efficient twin engine counterparts, justifying a need for the extra size and weight has been a challenge for most companies. The already successful 77F program might be able to satisfy the needs of smaller carriers, but certainly not with Volga-Dnepr’s ambitions. As the president of the airline, Dennis Ilin, points out in a Centre for Aviation Article, “The 747 is more diverse in its capabilities and the airline sees the nose loading ability as a necessary competitive advantage.” Volga-Dnepr is not trying to keep a steady production growth; what they want is to play in the big leagues of 747F operators. With Atlas Air Global at the top (including its subsidiaries) with 30 aircraft, the room for expansion by Volga-Dnepr has never been better. Six aircraft are currently in service under the Air Bridge Cargo group (subsidiary to Volga-Dnepr) and another twenty one are on order. Will we see an influx on cargo even though Air Bridge Cargo’s annual cargo volume figures have drastically demised? Ilin points out that there are discrepancies between the East-Asia and European freight market. Will this be the perfect opportunity to “fill the gap”? Personally speaking, I believe that Volga-Dnepr can take this opportunity to help open up some vital trade routes and it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to invest in the GENX based 747-8Fs. The coming years will only see an increased demand for large shipments and with an ever expanding Eastern economy, now is the perfect chance for Volga-Dnepr to solidify its name as a major league freight hauler. The 747-8F orders, 21 in the coming years, will be a key asset to the expansion and overall mission for Volga-Dnepr to be one of the largest carriers of freight in the world.

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Air Bridge Cargo 747-8F on active taxiway. Photo by Anton of airplane-pictures.net

Sources:

http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/airbridgecargos-747-8f-order-underpins-ambitious-expansion-plans-aiming-for-global-coverage-237748

http://cdn.airplane-pictures.net/images/uploaded-images/2015/3/24/539088.jpg

 

 

 

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