Italy’s ‘reborn’ Cargoitalia takes to the skies

Reborn from the ashes of two of Italy’s key air cargo carriers – Cargoitalia and Alitalia Cargo – the essentially all-new Cargoitalia has lofty ambitions of becoming the market leader in Italy and among the best in the world. Wong Joon San and Donald Urquhart report.

ALIS Cargoitalia HACTL market share MD-11 Roberto Gilardoni

With the ongoing severe downturn in the air cargo market punishing carriers with impunity, the obvious starting point for a discussion of the new carrier centres on timing. “We hope it’s the right time,” says Cargoitalia S.p.A.’s commercial director Roberto Gilardoni with evidentoptimism.

The original plan was somewhat delayed, he says – a result of hiccups with the acquisition and issues relating to the AOC. “Originally we were supposed to start flying in June. “Now I can tell you, in a way it was a good thing that it was postponed. What we see at the moment on the first route into Hong Kong, are signs that the market is catching up and we’ve had a good response from themarket,” he adds.

But Gilardoni admits that as essentially a new player in the market, Cargoitalia will have to ‘bite the bullet’ in terms of rate structure if they want to gain market share.

Yes we are a startup, but we position ourselves as the only Italian-owned air cargo company. There is Cargolux Italia he notes, but while it operates on an Italian AOC, it is for all intents and purposes, Cargolux.

“Our concept is a bit different. We are Italian – the management and owner and we are based in Italy. I think it’simportant because we believe the Italian freight forwarding community andmanufacturers are in favour of an Italiancarrier and will support us and we’ve seenthat so far with the charter flights andnow with the Hong Kong service.”