Italian newcomer, AlisCargo recently doubled its fleet, but almost no-one really became aware of this. In January, the Lombardy, northern Italy-based carrier added two B777s to its existing fleet of two Boeing Triple Seven passenger aircraft B-200ER which it obtained in mid-2021. Since then, widely unnoticed by the media and broad public, the startup has been conducting intercontinental flights on behalf of ITA Airways, and offering the market ACMI aircraft charter options to transport e-commerce packages stowed in passenger cabins. The fact that this service is only known to insiders is also due to the airline's reticent communication, to say the least.
Against this backdrop, the carrier’s entry into the cargo market has been reasonably successful, local experts say. However, an influential voice at Milan Malpensa Airport points out that the
airline has so far failed to achieve its primary target: acquiring freighters to operate cargo-only flights. “Given the current situation, where main deck capacity is an extremely scarce
commodity, it has not yet been possible for us to source a freighter. The market is empty and, as a startup, you don't have the best cards to get a front place in the line of interested
buyers,” Chief Commercial Officer, Uli Ogiermann, explains. He adds to this that even getting a conversion slot at retrofitters in a timely manner is almost impossible.
No more “cargo in the cabin”
Another sobering fact is that the “preighter” option will end soon because the EU Safety Agency, EASA decided to terminate the special permission to transport “cargo in the cabin” from 31JUL22. From then on, AlisCargo will have to limit itself to carrying air freight in the lower deck compartments of its four passenger B777-ERs.
The airline’s homebase is Milan Malpensa Airport: Italy’s premier cargo gateway. The surrounding region is traditionally highly industrialized, as evidenced by internationally renowned names such
as FIAT, Pirelli, and Luxottica - the world's largest manufacturer of eyewear, based in Milan. The annual gross national product of Lombardy and neighboring Piedmont is €35,044 per capita, well
above the national average (€26,548). In a European comparison, northern Italy is the fourth strongest economic region, after Baden-Württemberg in Germany, Catalonia in Spain, and the Rhone-Alpes
region in France. No wonder, then, that Milan has become the Italian cargo mecca, making Malpensa highly attractive for freight carriers.
Filling a cargo gap in Italy, Leali
Behind AlisCargo is Domenico Alcide Leali, the founder of Air Dolomiti, which was taken over by Lufthansa in 2003, and continues to fly under that name until today. After the Alitalia drama, Leali's concern was to form a cargo company that would connect Italy with the world and offer freight forwarders and the industry attractive connections to economic hotspots. Currently, New York and Mumbai are the main destinations regularly served by the airline's passenger B777s on behalf of partner ITA Airways. Yet, as long as freighters are not added to the fleet, the cargo plans stagnate. Therefore, for a foreseeable period, AlisCargo’s habitat will resemble that of a small fish in a big pond full of sharks.
We welcome and publish comments from all authenticated users.