Tag Archives: Milan

How global warming could impact air cargo flights

We’re all too aware of the many disastrous implications of global climate change – from the impact on coastal communities of rising sea levels through to the dangers of increasingly unpredictable seasons on agricultural cycles. But what about our own industry? A recent report in Climatic Change suggests that the implications could be serious for air transportation, and are well worth considering as the effects of climate change become more evident.


Serious impact

The report points to the way in which steadily rising temperatures will have an effect on the density of the air in the atmosphere. This has a direct impact on the amount of lift that our planes can generate – with serious consequences in terms of the amount of cargo that the aircraft would be able to carry. In extreme situations it could lead to aircraft being grounded during the hottest periods – with the experts suggesting that up to a third of flights might be prevented from taking off.  If true, the impact of increasing air temperatures would be particularly serious for air cargo operators – especially those who use larger aircraft such as the 777-300. The answer for the air cargo industry could lie in weight restrictions below their maximum take off weight – but the costs could be substantial.


A worrying pattern of evidence

“As air temperatures rise at constant pressure, air density declines, resulting in less lift generation by an aircraft wing at a given airspeed and potentially imposing a weight restriction on departing aircraft,” says the report by Coffel, Thompson and Horton. “Our results suggest that weight restriction may impose a non-trivial cost on airlines and impact aviation operations around the world.”


Ignazio Coraci comments: “This is troubling news for the industry, because it builds on previous research from 2015 – a compelling pattern is emerging that suggests that climate change could have very serious implications for our industry – not just in terms of cost but also in the quality of the service that we can offer our customers. As an industry we must do everything we can to make sure that the impact of climate change on our industry and the customers we serve is kept to a minimum.”

Hong Kong sees a surge in growth for first half of 2017

It has been a truly impressive start to the year for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), with growth in traffic right across the board. In terms of air cargo business, HKIA has handled an impressive 2.3 million tonnes of cargo already this year in the first six months to June – that’s up a remarkable 11.3% on the same period last year.

Booming exports

So what has been behind HKIA’s great start to the year – and more importantly, do the experts think it will be sustained? Well, in the latest figures from June, 410,000 tonnes of cargo passed through the airport, up 11.4% on 2016 – and there are indications that a 17% year-on-year increase in June exports from the airport led to the high growth in cargo tonnage for that period. That bump in export figures has certainly contributed then to the airport’s positive performance in the first half of 2017, but HKIA has also benefited from an improved global outlook. And with the Asian markets leading the way in air cargo growth, HKIA is in prime position to take advantage of a global economic performance that is looking positive in terms of consumer and business confidence.

Investing for the future

HKIA isn’t standing still, with work starting last August on a third runway to help accommodate future growth. The airport is also making further investments to ensure it meets the needs of customers.

“On the cargo front, HKIA continues to develop its ability to serve fast-growing segments of the high-value cargo business, such as fresh produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that require specialised handling,” says an airport spokesperson. “The airport authority and local industry stakeholders are working closely together to pursue the IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) accreditation on airport community basis and HKIA is expected to be recognised as an IATA CEIV Pharma Partner Airport by the third quarter in 2017.”

A sustainable future

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Clearly Hong Kong is an important site for both our ASC Cargo and SW Italia businesses, and so the news that air freight handling is continuing to grow there is great to hear. I’m also really encouraged by the investment in infrastructure that is being made at HKIA – it will go a long way towards making sure that the performance we’ve seen so far this year is sustained.”

Malpensa Airport to See Strong Growth in 2017

New reports indicate that Milan’s Malpensa airport saw strong air cargo growth in early 2017, and this momentum is only set to pick up further throughout the rest of the year. Ignazio Coraci comments.

Base of operations

Malpensa is the most strategically placed airport in Southern Europe. It is located in Lombardy, which is the richest region in Italy and a key driver of its economy, providing a multitude of opportunities for air cargo firms. Malpensa is also the only Southern-European hub to be ranked among the top 10 European cargo airports, making it very attractive for carriers who wish to serve this profitable market.

Malpensa airport also serves as our base of operations here at SW Italia. From Malpensa, we provide all-cargo services around the world, flying to far-flung destinations such as Azerbaijan, China and the US. We have quickly established ourselves as one of Italy’s leading all-cargo services, partly due to this advantageous location, and we are now expanding our fleet, to grow our company further.

Malpensa growth

There is a lot of potential to be found at Malpensa airport. Figures quoted by Air Cargo Week, an industry publication, suggest that for the past three years, the amount of air freight which passed through Malpensa grew at an average of 8%. But Malpensa’s air freight volumes expanded by a staggering 13% in the opening two months of 2017, showing that business is booming at the airport.

Meanwhile, this data suggests that in 2016, Malpensa’s air freight volumes rose by 7.4%. The airport’s air cargo volumes kept rising in early 2017 due to a stable economy, robust imports and exports and recovering road feeder service volumes. Experts believe that these same factors will ensure that Malpensa’s air freight volumes keep growing during the rest of the year, benefitting air cargo firms.

Contributing factors

There are various factors, which have attributed to the recent growth of Malpensa’s air freight numbers. The airport has long-been as a hub for the transport of goods such as pharmaceuticals, clothes, machinery, sports cars and perishables e.g. wine. Some of these, most notably pharmaceuticals, are seeing rapid growth, and coupled with the rising number of both small and heavy packages that are being transported from the hub, this is helping grow Malpensa’s air cargo volumes.

ignazio coraci looks at growth at Malpensa AirportWe should also not that Asia and the US – which is set to see robust air cargo growth long-term, account for over 70% of exports from Milan. Due to the recovery of import flows and increasing capacity of both direct and indirect services, the US market was a practically prominent driver of Malpensa’s growth in 2016. Meanwhile, Malpensa-based carriers are increasingly targeting new markets, such as South America, and this could boost the airport’s fortunes further going forward.

It is particularly interesting to note that Italy is only set to experience modest economic growth over the next few years, as it is not viewed by foreign companies as an easy place to do business. However in spite of this, Malpensa airport is expected to post further air cargo increases, in part because e-rising commerce is creating a climbing, constant stream of traffic for couriers based at the airport.

New opportunities

Commenting on these figures, Ignazio said: “Our location has allowed us to turn SW Italia into one of Italy’s leading all-cargo services. As Malpensa airport fulfils its potential and sees its air cargo volumes expand further in 2017, there will be new opportunities for us to capitalise on, allowing SW Italia to grow its operations and launch services to new markets, so we can thrive going forward.”