AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has taken delivery of the first of five Boeing 747-8 freighters, making the carrier the first customer of the type in Russia.
ABC placed orders for five firm 747-8Fs in 2007 with five options. Deliveries have been delayed three times. Initial delivery was scheduled for the end of 2009 at the rate of one a year, but was postponed by Boeing to February 2011 and then to September 2011.
ABC executive president Tatyana Arslanova said the 747-8F, which will replace some of the carrier’s older aircraft, will give the carrier the youngest freighter fleet in the industry while “maintaining the highest standards of environmental compliance.”
ABC operates two 747-200Fs, one 747-300F and eight 747-400s.
According to market experts, Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) has not yet certified the 747-8 but it is expected the carrier will be able to take the aircraft to Russia by the beginning of February. The first 747-8 routes have not been revealed but it is anticipated the aircraft will operate Europe–China service.
ABC, which was established in 2004 as a part of Volga-Dnepr Group, is based at Moscow Sheremetyevo and operates flight mainly between European and Chinese hubs. According to Fraport Cargo Services, ABC was the biggest cargo carrier at Frankfurt airport in 2011. Last year the carrier launched its first scheduled flight to North America.