Thursday, March 21, 2019

Express Air Cargo Company Takes on Freight Carrying Converted Boeing 737

Specialist Aircraft First of Type in Fleet
Shipping News Feature
RUSSIA – At a time when all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are grounded due to the two recent, so far unexplained, Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline accidents, evidence emerges that the older model of a plane which has proved a reliable workhorse for decades, and which has been in production in some form since 1967, is still a popular choice for air cargo carriers when converted to carry freight traffic.

One such enthusiastic purchaser is a subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group, namely Atran Airlines, the Russian air express carrier which has just enlarged its fleet with the delivery of its first Boeing 737-800BCF, increasing its total number of freighters to five. Having successfully completed certification of the Boeing 737-800BCF in Russia, the airline will be the first to operate this type of freighter, enabling its customers to benefit from its undoubted operational capabilities.

The additional airplane will boost the carrier’s capacity and guarantee a wider choice of logistics solutions for its customers linking routes between Russia, the CIS and Europe. The freighter has already operated its first flights from Moscow (Vnukovo) to Norilsk and Yakutsk carrying much-needed essential consumer goods for the population of the Siberian and Far Eastern parts of Russia, including perishables, general cargo and e-commerce shipments. Dmitry Obsharov, General Director for Atran Airlines, observed:

“We are delighted to have this new type of aircraft in our fleet. As the upgraded version of the Boeing 737, the airplane has more technical and operational capabilities. This allows us to offer more main deck cargo capacity thanks to the aircraft’s extended fuselage, which is 6 metres longer and broader, increasing the solutions we can offer for the transportation of various types of shipments, including oversized freight which can be loaded through the wider main deck cargo door.

”We are confident that this new aircraft type we will be able to guarantee high-service quality for our customers, leveraging trade flows in the markets we serve, with a special focus on China-Russia routes and the emerging volumes of cross-border e-commerce and mail shipments. It will also help to increase aircraft utilisation within our existing network.”

In addition to accommodating 11 standard aviation pallets (2235×3175 mm) and containers in the cargo compartment, the Boeing 737-800BCF incorporates a reconfigurable cargo handling system which can be easily adjusted for various types of ULDs. Its advanced technical characteristics, together with ICAO Stage 4 noise certification, make it an ideal aircraft for European short and medium-haul cargo operations, enabling easy and seamless deliveries of express and mail consignments.

First established in 1942 as a part of Aeroflot and used to ferry aircraft parts across the country after the German invasion, Atran is among the oldest Russia-based airfreight carriers. In 2011, the airline joined Volga-Dnepr Group and presently, Atran’s fleet includes five B737 freighters intended for short- and medium-haul routes. The airplanes are based in Moscow and operate scheduled frequencies on routes between Russia and Europe.

The Boeing 737-800BCF is a newcomer to Volga-Dnepr Group and complements its existing fleet of An-124-100, Il-76TD-90VD, Boeing 747F and Boeing 737-400F, which the Group say gives it an expanded airfreight solutions portfolio.