Monday, October 24, 2011

Air Freight Only Cargo Carrier Looks to the Charter Market

Cargoitalia Open New Specialist Division
Shipping News Feature

ITALY – WORLDWIDE – All freight air carrier Cargoitalia says it has seen a dramatic increase in the company’s charter work including ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance & Insurance) contracts and has responded by the establishment of a new division, Cargoitalia Ondemand, to cope with the growth in the sector. The all cargo company has appointed newly-promoted Giacomo Sciuto to head up the operation.

After dealing with many ad hoc flights for Lufthansa since 2009 Cargoitalia has now signed a long-term contract for Lufthansa Cargo to operate twice weekly from Frankfurt to New York and Chicago and renewed its contract for Africa West, initiated in June. This now involves a doubling of the previous weekly flights from Liege to destinations throughout West Africa. With the additional operation of ad hoc charters on an average weekly basis, Ondemand now accounts for around 30% of Cargoitalia’s total flying.

Like other carriers Cargoitalia has been through hard times of late causing cutbacks in scheduled services which the company now hopes to reinstate. The fleet of MD11F aircraft it operates are ideal for the new operation and Sciuto who has been with the airline since its relaunch in April 2009, and has spent over 12 years in airline operations and planning, commented:

“The MD11 freighter is in a league of its own. It is proving an ideal aircraft for scheduled airlines needing short-term or periodic additional capacity. It is large enough to provide the extra general cargo space they require, and can also cater for outsize cargo. But it does not require the same constant high levels of demand as newer and larger equipment like B777 or B747 freighters.

“We are also receiving a steady flow of charter enquiries and movements. Again, the size of the aircraft is winning jobs for which the 747 is too large and too expensive, and the A300/B767 are too small. Much of our work is in Africa, which is a traditionally strong market for the MD11F with its high temperature and high-altitude operating capabilities.”

Managing Director Giacomo Manzon agreed saying:

“2011 has been a difficult year for all freighter operators, with falling demand, over-capacity and rising fuel costs. Our routes have been impacted, resulting in our need to temporarily reduce frequency and suspend some services. Ondemand is absorbing our spare capacity, which means we are now able to maintain our scheduled services until the market conditions are right to re-start our expansion programme.

“We are re-modelling Cargoitalia as a more flexible operation that can cater for every type of freighter requirement, from scheduled service through long-term ACMI contracts to one-off charter flights. We now recognise the full potential of this market, and the ideal suitability of the MD11F for such work. As we recommence our scheduled service growth programme, we will also now make full provision for Ondemand. This diversification into two parallel businesses will strengthen Cargoitalia and better prepare it to face tough market situations in the future.”

Photo: Giacomo Sciuto