January 16 - Moscow-based AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has commenced scheduled all-cargo services to Chengdu International Airport (CTU) in China, operated by a maindeck B747-400 freighter.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is added to ABC's existing route between Zhengzhou (CGO), Moscow and Amsterdam (AMS).

The new scheduled routing will operate three times per week, connecting Chengdu directly with Moscow, Amsterdam and ABC's European online network destinations. The airline is confident of gaining support for the service from manufacturers and freight forwarders, especially in connection with time and security-sensitive commodities for Chengdu's thriving high-tech industry.

The city has been served by the Volga-Dnepr Group and AirBridgeCargo on a charter basis. Many charter flights with unique cargoes have been operated to the airport by Volga-Dnepr's AN-124 cargo aircraft. In addition, a number of emergency flights using both Volga-Dnepr AN-124s and ABC's Boeing 747 freighters were operated to Chengdu in May 2008, delivering relief goods, medical and rescue equipment to the region after it was hit by a devastating earthquake.

China is a major market for AirBridgeCargo Airlines. It already has a strong presence in China's traditional airfreight markets of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Zhengzhou. Adding Chengdu to its network expands the airline's coverage to inland regions of China which are quickly catching up with the developed coastal areas of the country.