The owners of failed freight airline Cargoitalia are attacking rival carrier Cargolux, claiming unfair competition forced the Milan-based operator into liquidation.
Cargoitalia grounded its freighter operations late last month, making the carrier the second all-cargo airline to shut down in a faltering international air freight market entering 2012.
Jade Cargo International, a joint China-based joint venture of Lufthansa Cargo and Air China, and Cargoitalia both suffered from the lack of financial backing and dwindling demand on Asia-Europe trade lanes.
But Cargoitalia said it’s MD-11 freighter operations were unfairly undermined by Cargolux’s launch in 2009 of four-times-weekly 747-400 freighter flights between Hong Kong and Milan Malpensa Airport in industrial Northern Italy.
Cargoitalia owner Alcide Leali said Cargolux won state aid and a license for the operation “in a very short time” and created a “virtual company” that gave it the rights to Italian cargo traffic without investment in the country.
“In this regard Cargoitalia has appealed to the civil aviation authority for the suspension of Cargolux¹s license and related damages,” Cargoitalia said in a statement.
Italian press reports put the request for damages at about $38 million.
Cargoitalia, which operated three MD-11 freighters, has had a troubled history and ceased operations once before until new owners revived the business.