MIAMI – The air cargo market seems to be the new El Dorado for freighter airlines in Italy, the UK, and Vietnam where newcomers are getting ready to enter the competition and take advantage of the constantly growing demand for transportation of goods.
Taken in alphabetical order, the first newcomer is in Italy where the newly created airfreight carrier AlisCargo is getting ready to fly its recently received first aircraft, a modified passenger-to-cargo Boeing 777-200ER, which will soon be followed by a second one.
The airline, as its logo slogan points out, wants to create “a bridge between countries.” Its program is aimed at connecting Italy with the Far East and the Pacific on one side of the world and with North America on the other, taking full advantage of the recent strong uptrend in cargo space demand.
The new carrier is headed by two veterans in the business, its CEO Francesco Rebaudo and its CCO Ulrich Ogiermann. Rebaudo and Ogiemann have extensive experience in the cargo business with former prominent positions within global cargo carriers or handlers.
In the UK, the newcomer is ZFG Air. Its intention is to launch operations from Newcastle (NCL) within June and initially aims to offer bi-weekly service to Hong Kong (HKG) via Dubai (DXB). It also has plans to expand to US and Europe in 2021.
ZFG Air has retained a leased passenger-to-freighter modified Airbus 330-200 while it awaits delivery of three aircraft later in the year, according to North East Times Magazine.
In Vietnam, the newcomer is IPP Air Cargo, the brainchild of billionaire Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, whose main business is not in aviation but as chairman of the successful 35-year-old retail company Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG), which deals with luxury goods. Nguyen is now chairman of the new cargo carrier.
Nguyen is not, however, new in the air transport business. He is the main shareholder of SASCO (Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company), a service provider concern present at Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN), and Cam Ranh Airport (CXR). Nguyen has had a primary role in opening air routes to Vietnam.
The new cargo carrier, of which Nguyen has a 30% share with a US$103.6m (VND2.4trillion) investment, is poised to enter the lucrative cargo business in Vietnam, of which 88% is actually held by foreign cargo carriers. The new cargo airline aims to create a domestic network comprising air and ground services.
IPP Air Cargo plans a network of five logistic warehouses at SGN, Hanoi Noi Bai Airport (HAN), CXR, Da Nang (DAD), and Can Tho (VCA), to be extended also to the future new SGN Long Thanh Airport, where IPP Air would concentrate imports cargo to subsequently dispatch it to a network of 16 domestic airports.
Additionally, the new carrier has the intention to acquire five aircraft, to begin with, and then increase that number to ten within three years but no specifics were mentioned on the type or brand being chosen.
For the time being, two Vietnamese carriers out of six, Vietnam Airlines (VN) and Vietjet (VJ) dominate the market with a share of 75% and both have modified their passenger aircraft to carry cargo to an amount of 196,000 tons representing an increase of 54% for VN, and a staggering 75% for VJ, when compared to 2019.
We look forward to seeing greater competition in the three cargo airlines’ respective regions.
Article sources: cargoforwarder.eu, aircargonews.net, netimesmagazine.co.uk, IPP Group Press Release
Featured image: Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VN-A871. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways