New Ruslan’s Launch Airlines Count On Freight Growth

 - July 9, 2012, 2:55 AM

Last year commercial airline Volga-Dnepr had revenues of $1.741 billion and generated a net profit of $59.3 million. At the same time, its debts rose to $186 million and, by the company’s estimates, are expected to increase by a further $250- to $300 million during 2012 as Volga-Dnepr borrows more capital money for its Boeing 747-8F acquisitions. The loans will also cover the construction of large hangars in Moscow, Ulianovsk and in the United Arab Emirates to be used for 747 maintenance.

Meanwhile, smaller airline Polet had to sell one of its existing Ruslans to UAC subsidiary Ilyushin Finance in 2011 and one more in 2012 to cover debts amassed with the lessor on the three Il-96-400T freighters and related maintenance services.

Both Ruslan operators hope for increase in their earning as the outsized cargo transportation market continues to revive. Volga-Dnepr technical director Victor Tolmachev told AIN that each commercially flown Ruslan can operate more than 2,000 flight hours annually, which he said is a high work rate for charter operations. Higher earnings would need to come from higher charter rates, and the latest IATA traffic figures indicate softening demand in response to worldwide economic troubles.