Russian belly carrier NordStar Airlines is planning on entering the dedicated freighter market next year, according to reports.
The airline currently carries freight on its passenger flights across more than 50 domestic and international destinations from its bases at Moscow Domodedovo and Krasnoyarsk, using the belly capacities of its passenger fleet of B737-800 narrow-bodies and ATR 42 turboprops.
A report on www.rusaviainsider.com claims that at last week’s Moscow MAKS-2019 air show, the regional airline negotiated options for the operational management of Boeing 767-300Fs with cargo terminals operator the Kratos Group, which runs freight facilities at Krasnoyarsk, Norilsk and Yaroslavl.
Kratos is reportedly considering the financial leasing of between one and five of the widebody aircraft from Russia’s State Transport Leasing Corporation (GTLK), the report said.
Nordstar and Kratos are said to be are discussing a joint whereby NordStar, which is wholly owned by Norilsk Nickel MMC, would serve the domestic freight flows generated by Kratos Group, starting in 2020.
The leased aircraft would reportedly carry freight within the country, as well as on international routes between Russia and China and the EU states.
The move by Nordstar is an interesting one, as the Russian air freight market has been in decline this year, and difficulties were reported last month by the Volga-Dnepr Group which said results for first half of 2019 were 20 per cent below expectations.