Atran Airlines, the Russian air express carrier within the Volga-Dnepr Group, is introducing a new route into its network between Hangzhou (HGH), China and Riga (RIX), Latvia.
Hangzhou is an emerging technology hub and home to the e-commerce industry in China where Alibaba has its headquarters.
The weekly flight, which is to be operated every Thursday onboard its recently deployed B737-800BCFs, will provide up to 23 tonnes of cargo capacity for e-commerce shipments of Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group.
The new freight call is another step of the ongoing cooperation between the Group and Cainiao Network after the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the end of 2018. The aim of the MoU was to strengthen the Group’s positions in the area of cross-border shipments in the market and jointly build a global smart logistics network to meet upgrading demands.
“We have been focusing on satisfying growing demand of cross-border shipments, analysing best-case scenarios for the consumers and launch of the lane Hangzhou-Riga is a result of our joint cooperation,” says Dmitry Obsharov, general director of Atran Airlines.
“Atran Airlines will offer cargo connection between Hangzhou, a major city in the Yangtze River Delta region, and Riga, which opens up distribution possibilities to both Russian and EU markets. On top of this, our customers will favor weekly air cargo services from Riga to Moscow (Vnukovo) with access to interline routes and CIS connections,” he adds.
James Zhao, general manager of Cainiao Global also comments: “Cainiao is striving to enhance cross-border logistics service for merchants, brands and consumers. We are pleased to partner with Atran Airlines to leverage its freight capabilities to provide efficient cross-border delivery.”
With the arrival of Atran, Riga Airport has become the first Baltic airport to be used for direct regular e-commerce cargo transportation from China, notes Ilona Līce, chairperson of the Board of Riga Airport. “It provides invaluable opportunities for both businesses and the economic cooperation between the Baltic region and China in general,” Līce says highlighting the service will also provide a connection to Russia which gives added opportunities for Baltic exporters.
“This project would not be possible without the active and efficient co-operation between all the parties involved. Therefore, I would like to thank the carrier, the Post of Latvia and the state institutions, especially the State Revenue Service Customs Board, for their effective engagement in the implementation of the project,” Līce adds.
Atran Airlines, which operates the fleet of B737-400SF and B737-800BCFs, is concentrating on creating bridges for the booming volumes of online purchases between China and Russia, expanding its network and enlarging the fleet.
The new service adds to the recently launched Xi’an route into Atran’s fold with the carrier aiming to further increase of its foothold in the region.