Photo by Heather Middleton
By Maria-Jose Subiria
Another international carrier can be added to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's list of cargo haulers.
In a press conference on Tuesday, officials announced that Cargoitalia, an air-cargo carrier based in Milan, Italy, will begin scheduled service of two weekly flights between Atlanta and Milan, on Feb. 3.
The addition of the carrier will create 10 jobs and have an estimated economic impact of $15 million on metro Atlanta, airport officials said.
Al Snedeker, spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson, said Cargoitalia operates an all-cargo fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-11 SF's. It is based at Milan Malpensa Airport, in Milan, Italy, and provides service to locations in North America, the Middle East and the Far East, he said.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the arrival of the cargo airline is convenient for businesses (so-called, freight forwarders), who have asked for more airlift capacity to Europe. "Cargoitalia is a world-class, all-cargo airline that meets this need, and I am confident it will serve our customers well in the years to come," said Reed.
Reed added that he is committed to growing air cargo at Hartsfield-Jackson, because it has a large economic impact on Atlanta and its metropolitan area. "Air cargo is on the rebound in Atlanta," he said.
Roberto Gilardoni, commercial director of Cargoitalia, said that Atlanta is one of the most valuable air-cargo gateways in the U.S., and Cargoitalia considered the city a required location to add to its expanding global network.
"The facilities [in Atlanta] are impressive, and we greatly appreciate the help and support they have shown to their newest guest airline," said Gilardoni. "We have great optimism about our potential in this market."
Louis Miller, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson, said the most recent airport data shows an increase in air cargo, and cargo development. "For the month of November, we had an 11.5 percent increase in air cargo here at the airport," said Miller. "So far, cargo development within the year is up 15 percent, which is just amazing."
Miller said Hartsfield-Jackson is committed to ensuring that it is prepared to serve the cargo industry. "In our budgets, we have $2.7 million to renovate and enhance the north and south cargo areas, to make sure we are ready for this cargo opportunity in the coming future," he said. "It will happen over the next couple of years."
Atlanta's global trade connections are stronger, due to this new arrival, added airport spokesman, Snedeker. Furthermore, continued Snedeker, Cargoitalia is the 15th all-cargo airline to serve the airport and the region. Other air-cargo carriers that have recently begun operations in Atlanta include: Asiana Airlines, in September 2010, and Singapore Airlines Cargo, in September 2009.
Snedeker said Atlanta offers an attractive geographical location for cargo carriers and freight forwarders interested in growing their global networks at lower operating costs. Without effort, companies can access air, road and railway transportation systems, in Georgia's capital city, he said.
"Cargoitalia's decision to begin air cargo service to Atlanta furthers our position as one of the world's premier logistic hubs and centers for supply-chain management," added Bob Pertierra, vice president of supply-chain development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
"This new trade lane enables companies in Atlanta and the Southeastern United States to gain access to even more customers and markets in Italy and Europe."