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Russian Cargo Carrier Flies Further from Hong Kong

AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Russia’s largest all cargo carrier, has found Hong Kong the perfect base from which to operate its Asia Pacific operations

AirBridgeCargo Airlines’ new office is located in Super Terminal One at the Hong Kong International Airport. Looking over the model aircraft on her desk in the office, Joanna Li, Vice President – Asia and Pacific, is ambitious about the expansion of the company’s Hong Kong regional headquarters, which oversees current businesses in the Mainland China and southeast Asia.

“Among other cities where AirBridgeCargo has existing business operations, I found Hong Kong the best place for us to manage the bigger sphere of business covering southeast Asia and down to Australia New Zealand where we intend to expand in a later stage,” she said.

Russian Cargo Carrier Flies Further from Hong Kong

AirBridgeCargo Airlines was first set up in Hong Kong in 2006 with just three staff to provide support to two scheduled flights to Europe. Leveraging Hong Kong’s business advantages, including its advantageous geographical location in Asia, easy access to main markets, excellent logistics infrastructure and ease of doing business, the airline expanded substantially in the past eight years and are now operating 11 scheduled frequencies per week. Its staff size also increased to 20 by end of last year. In 2014, AirBridgeCargo as a whole achieved 17.6 percent year-on-year growth in total tonnage.

A recent development saw the relocation of the Senior Vice President of Volga-Dnepr Group, AirBridgeCargo Airlines’ parent company, from Russia to Hong Kong. The Group also introduced another new role – Vice President, Charter Operations – Asia Pacific to drive the chartered flight business under another division Volga-Dnepr Airlines. These demonstrate the Russian aviation group’s development in Hong Kong. The regional management team in Hong Kong will be overseeing all the Group’s business and developments in the Asia-Pacific region.

With Hong Kong’s regional air hub status and the strong growth of the scheduled flight business, Volga-Dnepr Group sees the opportunity to further develop both scheduled and chartered flight business and increase market share in the region. “It is part of the Group’s plan to establish integrated regional offices to promote better coordinated positioning of the Group in the relevant markets and to reach their highest possible potential,” Li said.

Support Station

The Russian cargo airline added many new routes in 2014, including Dallas Fort Worth, Leipzig, Munich, Basel and Malmo. There are also three new weekly flight frequencies in Asia including two from Hong Kong. In 2015, its service will further expand to the West coast of the US and to Vietnam. “Some of the production activities, including electronics goods and textiles, have been gradually shifting from Mainland China to southeast Asia, which is driving our growth there. Hong Kong serves as the regional support station and base for our development in southeast Asia,” Li explained.

She also pointed to the increasing trends in prices and salaries in other cities, which makes Hong Kong more competitive in the long run. “Hong Kong’s cargo market is mature, stable and well regulated, and the city has many professionals with overseas development experience and mindset, which makes it easy and cost effective for our businesses,” Li said.

The airline’s next plan in Hong Kong is increasing frequency to double daily flights by the end of 2015 or early 2016, and develop other Asian markets including Vietnam and Singapore. Another plan is to synchronise the scheduled and chartered flight business for the Group’s development in Asia.

During AirBridgeCargo Airlines’ expansion in Hong Kong, InvestHK provided industry information and publicity support to the company. “InvestHK is well known for its services in Hong Kong and always provides a prompt response to our enquiries. It is any foreign company’s first point of contact,” Li concluded.

Monday, March 16, 2015

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Fast Facts

  • A subsidiary of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group
  • Established in Russia in 2004
  • Operates 43 weekly flights from Greater China to 23 destinations in 11 countries

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