In 2015, Volga-Dnepr Airlines performed 934 flights, a slight increase vs. the previous year (911). Volume of transported goods fell by 19.3%, to 32,800 tonnes. Revenue decreased by 19.8% and totalled USD 468.1 million. Such a trend was predictable: the evolving crisis of the world economy contributed to the redistribution of traffic flows in favour of less expensive types of aircraft. However, the share of Volga-Dnepr Airlines in the world market of AN-124-100 transportation in USD by sales volume increased by 12% and reached 92%.
In 2015, the airfreight transportation market faced a number of serious challenges. Among these were a drop in demand for transportation of oil and gas equipment due to the lower oil prices and the subsequent interruptions to large-scale projects, the reduction of military and humanitarian shipments due to the lack of major NATO operations and funding problems facing humanitarian organisations, and decreasing trade volume with the EU in USD associated with the weakening of the rouble.
However, even in these difficult conditions Volga-Dnepr was able to expand its customer base by adding 46 new customers, including ALCI (ANTARCTIC LOGISTICS CENTRE INTERNATIONAL), BelGorKhimProm, Mitsuwa, Lavochkin Research and Production Association and others. In general, the share of orders from companies who worked with Volga-Dnepr for the first time amounted to about 6% of the total sales. The key customers of the airline in 2015 included such giants as Shell, Bollor Group, Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Chapman Freeborn, Panalpina, Aerospace (Beijing) Logistics and Ceiba Сargo.
The main growth was achieved in the aerospace industry. The share of such orders in the structure of AN-124-100 and IL-76TD-90VD charters increased from 34% to 38%. In particular, Volga-Dnepr delivered to Baikonur Cosmodrome the Russian-made telecommunication satellites Express AM7 and Express AM8, as well as the Turkish Türksat 4B satellite. As early as January 2016, a Ruslan made three flights to transport equipment and materials for the research programme of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) known as ExoMars. Its main goal is the search for possible traces of life on Mars.
Another positive trend, from 10% to 12%, was demonstrated by the transportation of equipment for the energy industry. The orders in this area include delivering three electrical substations from New York to Cairo to support operations to widen the Suez Canal.
A total of 70% of flights in the charter segment were performed on the AN-124-100 in 2015. Most often, the goods were transported from Europe, Russia, the CIS and North America to Africa, India, the Pacific and the Middle East. Most flights on the IL-76TD-90VD aircraft were made in Europe, Russia, the CIS and Africa.
Critical challenges faced by Volga- Dnepr last year and are still relevant for the future. This includes extending the sales infrastructure, creating a proactive marketing structure and improving the availability of charter cargo transportation services due to the positioning of aircraft in regions with a high concentration of customers. So, the airline confirmed the possibility of long-term parking at Johor Bahru (JHB) airport in Malaysia, where planes can wait for our next orders in the region.
This airport was chosen as one of the closest to Singapore, from where we frequently receive requests. In the future, it is planned to open fully- fledged operating bases in America, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East with aircraft stationed in each region.
To implement this strategy, Volga-Dnepr continued to invest in its fleet. In 2015, two more AN-124-100 joined the fleet, thus, their total number increased to 12. We also performed consistent work to bring aircraft of this type to a single technical standard and extend their service life.