Brescia Airport woos Ethiopian, looks for more

Just as global carriers are turning their attention to Africa, so too are European airports who thus far have not been key destinations for African perishables traffic. “Africa is important for us as Brescia Airport because for the moment in Italy there is nobody flying direct to and from Africa,” says Brescia’s sales development manager, […]


Just as global carriers are turning their attention to Africa, so too are European airports who thus far have not been key destinations for African perishables traffic. “Africa is important for us as Brescia Airport because for the moment in Italy there is nobody flying direct to and from Africa,” says Brescia’s sales development manager, Michele Antonio Useli. “Ethiopian Cargo has started to look at the market more seriously than in the last few years and we have signed a contract in December with them, establishing a relationship which includes cooperation in order to help develop their market in exports – imports of course they don’t need our help,” he adds. “They have a very nice network and there are some classical destinations like Lagos and Johannesburg which have good cargo demand and will be profitable for them,” notes Useli. Ethiopian will begin with one flight a week in the summer season, linking with their main hub in Liege, Belgium, before expanding to two flights a week. The Italian airport is also pinning its cargo hopes on another new carrier from Kenya which is in the process of putting its operations together. The, as yet unnamed carrier, is planning on a once or twice a week service to Brescia, “hopefully by September”, he says. The timing is good Useli says, as most of the perishables – fish, fruit, vegetables and flowers – consumed in Italy originate from Egypt, which with the current social/political developments has meant some level of disruption in supply. “Italy offers a new market for Africa on top of the classical European markets,” he says. On the export side Italy has spare parts, oil equipment, machinery and a bit of fashion. “Fashion is picking up in South Africa and also Kenya. In the past Italian fashion was too expensive for the African market, but now with the fashion industry also producing cheaper products and the level of income in these markets also increasing, there is a growing opportunity.” Another recent development at Brescia Airport which will help boost its competitiveness with other airports like Malpensa, is that aviation fuel has now become much cheaper – by nearly 30 per cent – thanks to the completion of a new pipeline. “That makes Brescia very competitive because we are the cheapest on handling fees and cargo handling and now with the fuel on the same level as Malpensa we are really competitive, so we hope to attract more customers. Other key cargo carriers calling at the airport are Jade Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo as well as Italian Post which operates eight to 11 flights per night. “Generally speaking Africa is a huge business potential,” says Useli. “On top of that we may be a nice transit point for goods coming from China – if somebody realises they can be the link – Jade for instance has a lot of goods to Africa, but now they go through Frankfurt, but its over-crowded so maybe it’s possible one day for Jade and Ethiopian cooperate,” he suggests. “Now it’s the right time to explore that market,” he adds.