On November 25, Volga-Dnepr grounded its entire fleet of Antonov An-124 aircraft after a runway excursion at Novosibirsk Airport. An An-124 operating a flight to Vienna returned to Novosibirsk after suffering engine failure. During the emergency landing, the plane overshot the runway and broke off the nosegear leaving its nose down in the snow.
The Boeing 777 has joined the fleet of the company group member, AirBridgeCargo (ABC) and will be deployed on Trans-Siberian routes. Volga-Dnepr Group includes Volga-Dnepr Airlines, ABC and ATRAN Airlines.
The 777F joins ABC's fleet of 17 Boeing 747 freight aircraft and will add more flexibility to the airline's general and special cargo operations. ABC says the new plane will enable it to offer its customers more optimised delivery options.
Said Volga-Dnepr Group CEO Tatyana Arslanova: 'We would like to thank our personnel and specialists, partners and customers for this great milestone at the turn of 2021 when air freight is in high demand, especially for healthcare, e-commerce, and essential cargo transportation.'
ABC's Boeing 777F made its first commercial flight from Seoul in South Korea to Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport. It was met by officials of Volga-Dnepr and representatives of the Boeing Corporation and GE Healthcare. The guests were able to tour the aircraft and follow the unloading of medical cargo.
Volga-Dnepr took delivery of the 777F in August despite the airline's fractured relationship with Boeing. The aircraft has recently been certified in Russia.
Volga-Dnepr Group services are crucial for healthcare GE Healthcare is a major customer of the Volga-Dnepr Group and has been supplying high-tech diagnostic medical equipment to Russia for over 30 years. The company says that air transportation is the priority delivery method in terms of speed, especially during the pandemic.
This year, the Volga-Dnepr Group has seen a huge increase in e-commerce, triggered by the Covid pandemic. Logistics Middle East reported that AirBridgeCargo and ATRAN tripled their e-commerce volumes over the first nine months of 2020. The major trade routes were Asia-Europe, Asia-North America, and Europe-Russia.
On the downside, the group's strained relations with Boeing weren't helped by an incident in November 2019. An Antonov An-124 delivering a General Electric engine to Boeing made a hard landing at Everett Paine Field. The engine, destined for the 777X programme, was damaged during the landing.