So far this year, everything has been coming up roses for Russia-based AirBridgeCargo (ABC), and February was no exception. The airline reported its cargo volume for the month increased by 15 percent, year-over-year, driven by growth in fresh flower shipments.
The achievement was even more impressive, given the fact that February 2015 was an exceptionally high-volume month due to the U.S. West Coast port slowdown, which shifted much seafreight traffic over to air carriers. Without this one-off reoccurring in 2016, many carriers posted y-o-y declines in cargo traffic, but not ABC, which continued a pattern of growth, reporting a 3 percent increase in FTKs for February 2016.
According to the company’s executive president, Denis Ilin, ABC’s growth was not by accident, but rather is the result of an ambitious growth strategy in a less-than-burgeoning market for airfreight. “We have based our business plan on ‘zero percent’ market growth in 2016, so we are looking to create niches and constantly looking for, and targeting, market-share growth,” he said. Moving into 2016, Ilin said growth would “be about a redistribution of market share because the market is not going to grow aggressively.”
Fresh flowers represent one such niche that contributed significantly to February’s uptick in traffic. ABC says it operated nine charter flights with its 747s aircraft in order to fulfill the air transport needs for fresh flowers leading up to Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 and International Women’s Day on March 8.
In a press release issued by ABC, one of its customers described its satisfaction in ABC’s flower transport operations, citing how “flowers that are harvested by a farmer on a Wednesday, and are then bought by us on Thursday, have to be repacked and ready to go on sale in shops on Friday afternoon. So, we demand delivery times within 72 hours, and we trust AirBridgeCargo to consistently achieve this level of service.”
If you are interested in learning more about AirBridgeCargo, join this year’s Cargo Facts Asia, hosted by our sister publication, Cargo Facts between 19-20 April 2016 in Hong Kong, where ABC’s Vice President of Asia Pacific, Joanna Li will participate in the opening session, “Trends in Asia Pacific Air Cargo.” Click here for details.