Etihad Airways and Parma Airport have signed an agreement to develop cargo traffic at the airport of the central Italian city.
The exclusive agreement initially includes the establishment of a cargo transit centre at Parma Airport to receive cargo for forwarding to Milan Malpensa Airport for onward transport.
The project will be developed in conjunction with Etihad Cargo and partner airlines, providing an efficient solution to companies in the region for the rapid delivery of their products to global markets.
Etihad Airways with its equity partner, Alitalia, currently offers bellyhold capacity on 38 weekly flights between Italy and the UAE.
In addition there are six weekly freighter services from Milan, including a twice weekly service to Bogotá and the four times a week service to Abu Dhabi, which offer a combined capacity of 800 tonnes.
Etihad Cargo vice president, David Kerr says: “This agreement with Parma Airport is a further demonstration of our confidence in Italy, one of the largest cargo markets in Europe.
“We have already strengthened our freighter capacity out of Milan in the last few weeks, having placed a new 777 freighter on the Milan-Bogotá sector, so the opportunity to use Parma gives us a further chance to strengthen our cargo services from Europe.”
Parma is at the centre of one of the largest exporting regions in Italy for high value goods. These freight items require fast and secure transport, which are all factors that determine the demand for air freight services.
Parma Airport chairman, Guido Dalla Rosa Prati says: “With the co-operation of Etihad Airways, the strategic development plan for the airport is already coming to life.
“We are really honoured to have gained the interest of Etihad Airways, a key player in the world of aviation, and I am proud of the agreement which will generate new business opportunities for Parma and neighbouring territories.”
Work has already begun to adapt the airport infrastructure for the new service to be operational from July 2016. Cargo and logistics will play a central role in the ongoing development plan for Giuseppe Verdi Airport.