Russia's Volga-Dnepr Group says it suffered a financial setback in 2012 after overstretching its resources in the midst of unfavourable market conditions.
Alongside its outsize freight charter division, Volga-Dnepr comprises the scheduled subsidiary AirBridge Cargo and a regional cargo operation.
"Pursuing our long-term strategy, we carried out business activities in all of these segments simultaneously but encountered growth constraints last year," says group chairman Alexei Isaikin.
"In particular, we experienced a deficit of pilots, technicians, engineering and managerial personnel. In addition, international trade volume shrank, affecting our revenue base."
In 2012, Volga-Dnepr saw gross earnings remain at the previous year's level despite expanding its fleet, says Isaikin. He admits: "Overall, we suffered losses for the first time since 2001."
By his estimates, Volga-Dnepr lost around $38 million on sales revenue of $2 billion, with profitability falling in both major divisions - one of which operates Antonov An-124s and the other Boeing 747 freighters.
Isaikin says the board has approved a tight austerity budget for this year which envisions achieving a "modest profit" of $12 million and bringing the company back to the black.