Russia's largest cargo carrier, Volga-Dnepr Group, has ordered five Boeing 747-8 Freighters for its Air Bridge Cargo (ABC) division, and taken purchase rights for an additional five aircraft.

The division, which already operates four 747-200Fs, plans to expand its 747F fleet to 16 aircraft - including -400Fs and -8Fs. Delivery of the 747-8Fs will begin in 2009 at a rate of one a year.

As part of the move, Volga-Dnepr has dropped plans to acquire Ilyushin Il-96-400T freighters. The company is continuing to expand its fleet of new-build Il-76TD90VD freighters, with the second due to join its fleet in November after completion at the TAPO plant in Tashkent. The four-engined freighter supplements the company's larger Antonov An-124 Ruslans in the outsize cargo market, where Volga-Dnepr is dominant with a 60-65% market share.

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Air Bridge Cargo will take up to 10 747-8Fs, beginning in 2009

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Source: Flight International