BAE Systems Regional Aircraft announces today that Airgo Airlines S.A, of Athens, Greece has become the latest ATP Freighter operator and will commence flying this month from its operating base of Athens International Airport.
Managed by a team of experienced Greek airline professionals, lead by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Petros Stefanou, Airgo Airlines is a new start-up carrier that aims to take advantage of the growing need for a dedicated and professional regional all cargo carrier to operate between Greece, the new accession countries of the European Union in the region such as Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, and the Balkan states such as the republics of the former Yugoslavia, Albania and also into Turkey.
Mr Stefanou explained: ‘There is fast-growing freight traffic in this south-eastern European area, but very few air cargo carriers. The Balkans and South-east Mediterranean areas have to be considered as a new emerging niche market for air cargo. Airgo Airlines has been established to accommodate air freight operation in the broader area taking into consideration the geographical position and the proximity of its hub base in Athens.’
Airgo’s initial operations are concentrated on ad hoc cargo flights in the area, but in the medium-to-long term it intends to work in commercial collaboration with major forwarders and integrators in Greece and in the wider Balkan region.
The airline has acquired one ATPF equipped with a Large Freight Door on long-term sub-lease from West Air Sweden (msn 2005) ’ an aircraft that in turn is on long-term lease from BAE Systems. In addition, West Air Sweden will provide maintenance and support to the new operation.
Gustaf Thureborn, Chief Executive of West Air Sweden explains that this partnership concept is a new initiative from West Air Sweden, ‘It is a new strategy for us to help us grow our business in partnership with new operators for the ATPF. We give these operators our full support and we look forward to adding more customers in the future.’
Nigel Benson, Director Sales and Marketing Freighter Programs for BAE Systems Regional Aircraft added that this new West Air Sweden strategy is good for the overall ATP Freighter program. ‘We are working closely with West Air Sweden and support these moves as it helps to spread the customer base for the ATPF.’
Mr Stefanou concluded: ‘We are delighted to be working with both West Air Sweden and BAE Systems and we believe the 8-tonne ATPF is the perfect sized freighter to satisfy this market and develop it for the future. The co-operation with West Air Sweden is of great importance for Airgo and it is expected to be further developed both at an operational and strategic level as it seems that partnerships could provide cost-efficient solutions to accommodate demand in the broader European air freight network.’