Cargoitalia – the king is dead, long live the king

THE all-new Cargoitalia’s resurrection from the remains of the original and Alitalia Cargo, has been one of intense interest for the industry this year. Not least because any start up in this difficult climate usually brings the response: “Good luck to them but why now?”A good question indeed. Giacomo Manzon (near left), the new Cargoitalia’s managing director of operations, admits that, given the choice, their timing would have been different.“We started this two years ago in a much stronger market situation. At the time the idea was to create a new long-haul cargo initiative for Italy because Alitalia was already falling apart and, compared to other larger countries in Europe, Italy had one of the most undeveloped air cargo markets.“Of course, after two years in such a deep crisis, we have had to modify our project. Instead of starting a new airline from scratch we have manoeuvred to take opportunity of the Alitalia MD-11s and pilots now available and that has meant an earlier start than planned, but we’re confident in our business model, even with the market like it is.”However, whether it is good business model or not, the new operations have a lot to live up to, especially considering the past reputation of Italian freighter operators. Manzon recognises that they have a challenge ahead of them.“Historically, for various reasons, Italy never had a carrier that cared for its freighter operations very well. We want to change that. This means that we want to offer a service that is engaged with the customer at all stages of the operations, from before the booking through to delivery of the goods at their destination.”Which is all very well but by taking on the Cargoitalia brand and parts of Alitalia Cargo, some people have questioned whether those past carriers and their reputations will contaminate the new operation.“It’s a common question we’re asked but we don’t have and have never had any connection with the old Cargoitalia. We are 101 per cent new. I think of all the staff we’ve only taken on one from them.“The old Cargoitalia copied Alitalia’s way of thinking and structure that overstretched itself with wet leasing, trying to establish a huge network, to try and create an empire around the world. We come from a totally opposite approach. We believe the quality of what we are doing is paramount. We value the creation of a very light structure centralised here in Malpensa, but with a high degree of delegation to the local GSSAs.For the full story read the latest issue of Air Cargo News, dated 13 November, 2009. To subscribe, click on ‘Subscribe’ above.

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