Volga-Dnepr Group and Astral Aviation Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim to foster cooperation in the humanitarian sector.

    In a statement, the companies claimed that a new level of cooperation will strengthen the capabilities of both parties and will contribute to “uninterrupted and stable supply chains” of healthcare products, among them Covid-19 vaccines taking the first place.

    The Group, which consist of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Atran Airlines, will cooperate with Astral to intensify their efforts in dedicated air freight transportation, both through scheduled and charter options, powered by a diversified fleet of freighters. The humanitarian partnership will embrace not only Covid-19 and other vaccines’ distribution mainly between Russia and Africa but will also concentrate on ancillary supplies, healthcare products and Aid & Relief emergency response.

    Volga-Dnepr Group’s global healthcare director, Yulia Celetaria, said: ‘Volga-Dnepr Group and Astral Aviation Limited have both extensive experience when it comes to working with UN agencies, public entities, authorities and not for profit organisations. That, together with companies’ competence, healthcare capabilities and proven track record of successful pharma transportations will enable us to significantly enhance the distribution of vaccines across the African continent which will result in acceleration of vaccination rate. Apart from vaccines, we will also work under a synchronised flow of goods making sure that vaccines and ancillary supplies are delivered together to support the ongoing vaccination programme. This cooperation resonates with the basic values of the Group which are health support, collaboration and bringing value through our products and services”.

    Apart from healthcare and humanitarian sectors, the parties will pay great attention to the transportation of perishables, which constitute a significant part of African exports. With Boeing freighters, both companies are ready to leverage growing volumes of fresh-cut flowers and fruits to Europe and beyond.

    Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation states that the Co-operation with Volga-Dnepr Group brings the company new opportunities in the distribution of humanitarian cargoes and Covid-19 Vaccines, to and within Africa, which will provide an efficient air-bridge to the UN and Aid agencies. “We are honoured to partner with Volga-Dnepr Group which is a world leader in the global market for the movement of oversize, unique and heavy air cargo. We look forward to enhancing our commercial co-operation in the near future to include the air-transport of perishables from Nairobi to Liege to meet the growing demand for flowers and vegetables during the pandemic. We believe that is through co-operation and partnership between Airlines, that we will be able to meet the challenges in the supply-chain during the pandemic which will enhance resilience and agility for both airlines.”