Russia's AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) is assessing the capabilities of European airports as part of potential plans to establish a secondary hub to complement its main Moscow base.
"The idea to launch an ABC secondary hub in Europe is not a new one. In 2017 we witnessed a number of situations with major cargo hubs, which revealed the scale of problems related to airport congestion, constraints, prioritising in favour of passenger business, etc," explained Sergey Lazarev, general director of ABC.
Concerns about Europe's airport capacity were raised last year, when impending slot restrictions at Amsterdam Schiphol airport led ABC to introduce 12 freighter calls at Belgium's Liege Airport, as HLPFI reported here.
According to Lazarev, ABC started looking for alternative solutions to develop partnerships with cargo-friendly airports, which will be able to support the airline's growth plans.
"However, despite their proactive customer-focussed approach and strong willingness to cooperate with ABC, when we start talking about an increase of volumes to these airports, we came to the joint conclusion that the existing airport infrastructure and qualified manpower is not sufficient for smooth operations of a big freighter operator," added Lazarev.
"At the moment ABC is set to make assessment of real and potential possibilities of different European airports in order to make an inventory of airport's capacity, different facilities including ground handling, sites, etc."
HLPFI readers will recall, after reporting a 13 percent upsurge in total cargo carried in 2017, ABC said its main focus for 2018 will be enhancing its special cargo solutions, not only providing a wide range of products but also offering digital solutions to make the process of airfreight delivery as transparent and easy as possible.
Given the planned improvement of its services for special cargoes, and ABC's strategy for expansion, Lazarev concluded that "it is of vital importance for ABC to find partners with high level of handling services, extensive operational opportunities including for all types of special cargo and well-developed ground and airport infrastructure."