June 1 - AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has recorded a 17 percent year-on-year increase in volume for the first quarter of 2017, with 158,000 tonnes being handled by the airline.

ABC reported that products requiring special handling procedures were among those with the highest rate of growth in the first three months of the year. In particular the airline saw pharmaceutical shipments increase by 70 percent, while long, heavy or oversized cargo services rose by 15 percent.

The arrival of the airline's tenth Boeing 747-8 freighter in March, increasing its total 747 fleet to 17 aircraft, contributed to a 7 percent increase in frequencies network-wide, says ABC. While its decision to continue increasing its network in Asia, coupled with market growth, saw its tonnage rise 19 percent in the region.

Sergey Lazarev, general director of ABC, said: "Our growth in the first quarter of 2017 is a combination of several factors. Firstly, we are enjoying general market improvement, but we are also seeing the benefits of our product development strategy, which has been implemented to ensure we comply with our customers' expectations."

He adds: "We will continue to stay in close contact with our customers to provide the network services and product solutions they require, and this will be supported by further growth of our fleet and more focus on carrying special cargoes."