Over 75,000 tonnes of dedicated packages with online purchases were delivered globally throughout the carriers’ networks onboard Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 freighters, with the major contributing trade lanes being Asia-Europe, Asia-North America and Europe-Russia. The upcoming series of online shopping days – Singles’ Day, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Christmas – will add to the growing volumes of cross-border international shipments, which the companies will leverage with 10 additional B747 charter flights in November from China to Russia and the extended number of B737 flights.
Nikolay Glushnev, General Director, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, highlights: “The pandemic served as a trigger for the e-commerce sector and all the stakeholders needed to adjust quickly to the rapid changes and disruptions. Within AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Group, we introduced dedicated long-term charter programs, which guaranteed capacity availability for our customers during these turbulent times and high-quality services. Understanding that e-com goes in line with the digital customer journey, we have enhanced the customer journey experience to guarantee flawless, timely and user-friendly communication. This covered development of IT Hub, online booking tool to facilitate smooth ‘work-from-home’ process for customers with constant booking confirmations, website e-services with regards to scheduled and track&trace, and schedule updates through e-mail in auto mode with frequency and other settings adjusted upon customers’ needs”.
Vitaliy Andreev, General Director of ATRAN Airlines, comments: “We have been experiencing the emerging demand as of September. That said, following the market sentiments and our customers’ needs we have increased the number of Hangzhou-Riga-Moscow frequencies from five till seven in September, as well as introduced additional Hangzhou-Vladivostok-Novosibirsk flights from October. The right capacity and the right connectivity will allow us to further support our customers from the e-commerce sector which, thankfully, shows no signs of relenting”.
To guarantee biosafety of its services worldwide amid the pandemic Volga-Dnepr Group introduced clean service, which covers disinfection of cargo and aircraft, PPE for all front-line personnel, regular medical checks and COVID-19 testing. With special measures, which require additional investments, not only Volga-Dnepr fights with the pandemic spread through its services to deliver much-needed cargo but also eliminates the risks for virus spreading through its personnel.
While the e-commerce sector has been traditionally strong over the last several years, 2020 has only skyrocketed the number of cross-border shipments due to the pandemic situation, additional demand for high-tech products to equip ‘work-from-home’ environment, expansion of online solutions from brick and mortar retailers, and improvement of overall online shopping experience. On top of that, personal safety serves as another growth driver as consumers became more cautious and are reluctant to visit physical shops and prefer online shopping.