Volga-Dnepr caps turbulent period with first B777F delivery

ABC's first B777F registered VQ-BAO, photographed during its first taxi test at Boeing's Paine Field on 29 July 2020. Photo by Matt Cawby.
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Volga-Dnepr has taken delivery of its first B777 Freighter for AirBridgeCargo (ABC), as part of a leasing deal with Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE).

The delivery caps a turbulent fleet modernisation process that has dramatically stretched over the last two years.

Volga-Dnepr expressed its appreciation to DAE for its support and the efforts of the teams of both parties in an “extremely difficult year for the entire world aviation (both airlines and leasing companies).”

The Russian cargo carrier group first indicated its interest in diversifying its freighters into the B777F market at the 2018 Farnborough Air Show with a commitment for an impressive 29 of the aircraft type.

The move was a logical step in modernising the Group’s fleet which ranged from An-124s to B747-8Fs, but with the latter’s end-date already sealed by Boeing, it was clearly time to look to a freighter with a broader horizon.

But, an ensuing legal battle between Volga-Dnepr and Boeing over the delivery of three B777Fs and a one B747-8F, with the Russian group citing poor market conditions in 2019 and the need to resize its fleet, the order was effectively terminated.

And then shortly thereafter in June 2019, DAE announced its leasing division DAE Capital and Volga-Dnepr-owned cargo airline, AirBridgeCargo, entered into a purchase and leaseback agreement with Pre-Delivery Payment (PDP) financing for three factory fresh B777 freighters.

Fast forward to today: “DAE allowed us to find solutions for the purchase and delivery of aircraft to our fleet,” Volga-Dnepr says in a statement. And clearly in this upturned world of Covid-19, this first delivery probably couldn’t have come at a better time given the demand for cargo uplift.

And, just this past July the Moscow-based carrier announced the reorganisation of its sales structure, consolidating the sales teams of its three airlines – AirBridgeCargo, Volga-Dnepr and Atran – enabling them to sell a unified portfolio of aircraft and services.

“Volga-Dnepr is dedicated to the development and optimal composition of the fleet, and believes that the 777F will allow it to take the next step in providing a more sustainable and efficient service to its customers,” Volga-Dnepr says.

The Group operates both charter and scheduled freighter services tapping a fleet of An-124-100/150, Il-76TD-90VD, B747-8F, B747-400ERF, B737-800BCF and B737-400SF aircraft.

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