Cargoitalia, Italy’s freighter operator, has taken delivery of its third MD11 freighter aircraft. The aircraft’s arrival marks the satisfactory conclusion of the airline’s first phase of development, which began with its successful re-launch under new ownership and management in 2009.
Cargoitalia’s latest MD11 aircraft has been newly-converted by SASCO of Singapore, a Boeing sub-contractor. It embodies a number of design enhancements including an updated flight deck, forward cargo door, improved fuel efficiency, increased range and greater payload. The main and lower deck cargo compartments accommodate a total of thirty-six 96 x 125 inch pallets or ULDs.
After an initial program of charter flights during July and August, and providing cover for other aircraft during their routine maintenance, the third aircraft will finally enter scheduled service in September, operating the airline’s recently-announced twice-weekly Milan-Shanghai flights. This will be stepped up to three-times-weekly frequency from October.
Says Cargoitalia MD Giacomo Manzon: ‘This latest aircraft with its increased payload and improved loading capability is ideal for the new Milan-Shanghai operation. It is the ultimate MD11 - a virtually new aircraft with an extended life-span, and will enable us to continue building on our established reputation for high operational reliability. As with our two previous aircraft, we are easing this into our fleet with initially restricted operations to ensure total familiarity with its different characteristics, before we apply the greater pressures of full scheduled service.’
Since its re-launch of scheduled operations in September 2009, Cargoitalia has already achieved substantial shares of the Italy-Hong Kong, Italy-Dubai and Italy-USA markets. However, with a substantial proportion of Italian airfreight still being trucked to other European gateways, the airline has much greater potential as the country’s only indigenous freighter operator.
Cargoitalia is now turning its attention to its next development phase from 2012, when it intends to acquire a number of new freighter aircraft and phase out MD11 operations. Manzon continues: ‘We have been very happy with the MD11 as a base for our operations. It has proven extremely reliable, and has a payload which suits a number of markets which we either operate now, or plan to operate in the future. The MD11 has been a major key to our success so far.’