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Boeing strikes $7.4-bn 747-8 freighter deal with Russian cargo major

18 June 2015

Global aircraft giant Boeing Inc has signed a memorandum of understanding to supply 20 advanced 747-8 jumbo freighters to Russia's Volga-Dnepr Group, a world leader in transportation of heavy cargo, for approximately $7.4 billion.

Boeing 747-8

Boeing announced the deal yesterday at the Paris air show, which was launched earlier this week at Le Bourget on the outskirts of the French capital.

The agreement also includes the addition of Volga-Dnepr's Antonov-124-100 commercial cargo jet to the long-term logistics support for Boeing and its partners.

The An-124-100 manufactured jointly by Russia and Ukraine, is the second-heaviest operating cargo aircraft with a pay-load of over 120 tonnes, behind the one-off An-225. The unique aircraft continues to dominate the global air cargo market, being the number one choice for transportation of outsize and heavy air cargo.

The technical abilities of An 124-100, along with Volga-Dnepr's 25 years of experience in transportation of aviation equipment, is expected to further serve Boeing's logistics needs.

Volga-Dnepr Group president Alexey Isaikin said, ''Together with Boeing, we will keep the unique technology of air logistics offering both the Antonov-124-100 and our expanded Boeing 747 fleet for the benefits of global customers."

''Our partnership with Volga-Dnepr Group is one of a kind,'' said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner. ''Volga-Dnepr Group is a world-class cargo carrier and an outstanding service provider. We appreciate their confidence in the 747-8 Freighter.''

The Volga-Dnepr Group has represented the Russian airfreight industry in the international market since 1990 employing around 3,500 people.

The group's core operations include three leading cargo carriers -Volga-Dnepr Airlines running charter cargo operations using 10 An 124-100s and 5 IL-76TD-90VDs heavy transporters, AirBridgeCargo Airlines operating scheduled cargo operations using a fleet of 14 Boeing 747s including six 747-8s, and Atran Airlines operating three Boeing 737 freighters.

Volga-Dnepr took the first delivery of the Boeing 747-8 in Russia in 2012. 

Adding more 747-8 freighters will allow further development of the Group's scheduled business AirBridgeCargo Airlines, and keep the airline's high growth rates.

Yesterday, Volga-Dnepr said its AirBridgeCargo Airlines' global cargo transport jumped 16 per cent in the first five months of 2015, reaching 180,605 tonnes, being one of the fastest growing international scheduled cargo airlines.

The airline operates scheduled flights to 26 destinations in 14 countries.

The new 747-8 aircraft gives cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. It is optimised to provide greater revenue cargo-carrying capability than the 747-400, offering 16 percent more cargo volume while keeping its unique nose door, Boeing said.  

The new airplanes will be acquired through direct purchases and leasing over the next seven years.

Additionally, Boeing said Wednesday that Ethiopian Airlines has ordered six more Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners to complement its existing fleet of 13 787s.

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