Italy’s all-cargo carrier, Cargoitalia, has joined the long list of airlines that have stepped in to help the giant relief airlift for Haiti.
Cargoitalia has operated two MD11SF flights: the first from Brindisi to Port-au-Prince, followed by a second flight from Milan and Rome to Santo Domingo, in the neighboring Dominican Republic. The two flights carried a total of 135,000 kilos of first aid equipment, medical kits and food on behalf of the Italian government and international relief organizations.
Both flights required complex routings, with last-minute changes, because of restrictions on civil flights into Port-au-Prince, and the lack of fuel at several other airports in the area.
“We maintain dedicated slots for charter operations in our schedules, so we were thankfully able to respond to the urgent plea for capacity at very short notice, and with two aircraft," Commercial Director Roberto Gilardoni said. “Despite the widely reported air traffic and airport congestion throughout the region, we operated on time and had no problems on the ground. Everything went surprisingly smoothly.”
He added, “We were very pleased that we were able to play a modest part in this huge operation, and we sincerely hope that the situation in Haiti will improve in the days to come.”
Cargoitalia currently operates two MD11SF freighters, with up to 90,000-kilo capacity.
A third aircraft is due for delivery by mid-2010, and will provisionally operate Milan-Shanghai. From 2012, the MD11Fs will be progressively phased out, as the airline takes delivery of new Airbus A330-200 freighters; it has five confirmed orders and three options.