Russia’s largest air freight companies wind down amid harsh economic sanctions

17 March 2022, 01:40 PM

Airlines belonging to Russia’s largest air freight group, Volga-Dnepr, have ceased almost all flights, reported Russian business news outlet RBC on March 17. Prior to the imposition of Western sanctions, they would normally have conducted dozens of flights per day.

Since March 14, Volga-Dnepr conducted just two,chartered flights using An-123 and Il-76 cargo planes. No other activity from the group’s subsidiaries has be observed in several days.

Specifically, AirBridgeCargo and Atran – Russian subsidiaries of Volga-Dnepr – had their last flights on March 13, while the British CargoLogic Air and German CargoLogic Germany have not flown since March 11.

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Earlier reports suggested that one of Volga-Dnepr’s An-124 planes had been grounded in Toronto, Canada. It was delivering a shipment of COVID-19 test kits from China to Canada, and was grounded due to Canadian air travel sanctions against Russia. While the group has 11 An-124s, the one stuck in Toronto represents a third those air-worthy enough to fly.

Earlier, Russia’s second largest airline S7 cancelled all international flights. Sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine have hit the Russian air industry hard, with most insurers refusing to insure Russian flights, the closure of much of European airspace to Russia, and mass revocation of leases on Russian aircraft.

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