Flying pigs to China: Times never better for Volga-Dnepr air cargo sales
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on commercial aviation, but Alexey Isaykin's cargo carrier is fully loaded - with live swine
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on commercial aviation, but Alexey Isaykin's cargo carrier is fully loaded - with live swine.
Mr Isaykin's stake in closely held Volga-Dnepr is estimated to be worth around US$700 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
'Global aviation is going through its most challenging time ever, but for cargo carriers like us it's a chance. Previously, more than half of all aviation cargoes were carried in the luggage compartments of passenger planes. With this supply vanishing from the market, demand for cargo airlines surged and prices more than doubled,' said Mr Isaykin.
The Russian company's revenue may increase by a third this year to $2 billion, he says.
Volga-Dnepr Group has flown more than 3,000 breeding pigs to China from France this year. The animals - transported 6,450 miles in wooden crates in the hold of a Boeing 747 cargo plane??are being used to restore local livestock levels to help mitigate shortages in the world's largest pork market after an outbreak of African swine fever decimated China's swine herds.
Measures to stem the spread of the virus amplified those swine shortages and accelerated attempts to boost the population of domestic herds. China imported a total 254,533 tons of pork in the first four months of the year from the US, which overtook Europe to become China's largest pork supplier. That's already more than the 245,000 tons China bought for the whole of 2019.