Malpensa passes the 500,000 tonne mark for 1st time

Milan Malpensa Airport passed the 500,000 tonnes mark for the first time in its history last year, with two years of strong growth.

SEA Milano, the operator of Malpensa, says the gateway increased its share of the Italian market from 53 per cent to 55 per cent in 2015 helped by traffic that would have used road feeder services to other European airports are increasingly flying from Milan.

Bellyhold cargo increased by 10.5 per cent in 2015 due to increased widebody passenger aircraft while cargo and courier movements increased by 16 per cent to over 10,000.

Malpensa’s volumes have also been helped by DHL using the airport as a gateway hub from November 2014.

“[This is] an encouraging figure showing how Malpensa cargo can give an important contribution also for passenger flight development in the airport,” SEA says.

SEA explains the economic situation in Italy has stabilised so it hopes imports will improve despite Europe as a whole stagnating. SEA says Malpensa grew due to recovering volumes from road feeder services, cargo carriers increasing freighter capacity to attract traffic from locations including Switzerland and Southern France, improved infrastructure and developing express courier bases.

“This target will be pursued by the quality of air cargo services, the improvement of infrastructure and, last but not least, a better road connectivity. [A] New highway connecting Malpensa to Switzerland and Eastern Italy has been built for EXPO2015 and will be extended during [the] next [few] years,” SEA notes.

So far in 2016 January proved to be a good month though February could be slower due to Chinese New Year and China’s slowdown.

“We expect that the operators already based, both courier and full freighters, in Malpensa will consolidate their presence with some increases in terms of flights and capacity offer.

“The month of January confirmed the positive trend with +10 per cent whereas February will probably be affected by the Chinese New Year. Of course our positive forecast could need some adjustment in case of a world economic downturn pushed by a Chinese crisis,” SEA observes.

Despie some concerns over China, SEA is happy with Cargolux Italia’s Malpensa – Novosibirsk – Zhengzhou services launched in June 2015. It is the only direct cargo service to China, excluding Air China bellyhold services to Shanghai and Beijing.

The new Cargolux Italia flight is very important for the business in Malpensa. First of all because Novosibirsk and Zhengzhou were not directly connected before; moreover the flight is the only cargo service to China reaching more than 50 cities in mainland China by trucking service.”

Malpensa’s biggest export markets continue to be the USA and the Far East nations including Japan, China, South Korea and Hong Kong, with capacity to South America increasing. In 2015, Atlas Air started flying to Bogota on behalf of Etihad and LAN started passenger services with bellyhold capacity to Santiago de Chile combined with Sao Paulo, as well as Cargolux Italia’s Zhengzhou flights.

Milan Malpensa operates more than 110 cargo flights per week and connects to about 180 destinations worldwide, including bellyhold capacity.

SEA says: “USA and Middle – Far East are our reference markets and we are focused in a stable growth in these areas. Of course other markets represent our targets for the future, such as South America or Africa, where an improvement in direct connections will be positive for the airport and its catchment area.”

Milan Malpensa’s exports consist of products Italy is famous for, such as fashion including clothes, shoes, glasses, bags and accessories, luxury sports cars, food and wine, mechanics, design products and spare parts. Imports consist of electronics such as computers and smartphones, semi-finished products and fresh food.

SEA is expecting pharmaceutical traffic will increase: “We expect that pharmaceutical products will enhance more and more their importance thanks to the new CEIV [International Air Transport Association Center of Excellence for Independent Validators] certification just reached by two cargo handlers.

“During last months, both of them have improved facilities dedicated to pharma, adding more than 2,000 square metres of temperature controlled warehouse spaces to this kind of shipments (loose or in ULDs).”

In the coming years, companies at Malpensa will be expanding their presence, including FedEx and DHL Express. FedEx’s new warehouse will be ready by the end of July and fully operational by October.

“This building is three times the size of FedEx’s present warehouse and will allow it to gradually increase its cargo volumes being positioned in the centre of its activity for Southern Europe and Italy,” SEA notes.

A 15,000 square metre warehouse will be ready for 2017 and will be rented to Worldwide Flight Services and Italian cargo handler, Beta Trans. DHL Express is investing 90 million euros ($101 million) on a 15,000 square metre warehouse, expected to be completed by 2018.