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MSC Air Cargo Launches Inaugural Weekly Flight To Tokyo

MSC Air Cargo's inaugural flight to Tokyo marks a confident step forward in bridging Italian excellence to Asian markets.

Atlas-MSC 777-200F. (Photo: Atlas Air)

MSC Air Cargo launched a new weekly flight service from Milan Malpensa Airport bound for Tokyo, using a Boeing 777-200 Freighter. This flight represents the first weekly connection (every Friday) between the Italian city and the capital of Japan.

This weekly service, dedicated to exporting high-quality and high-fashion products made in Italy to Asian markets, is carried out from Milan Malpensa in collaboration with SEA, the airport operator. The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a Swiss global giant in the maritime transport sector, started its air division, called MSC Air Cargo, at the beginning of 2023. This new division began operations using a fleet of Boeing 777s.

MSC Air Cargo has been integrated into MSC’s core business, namely the service of freight transport by sea with shipping containers. MSC has about 500 container ships, of which about 200 are owned, and about 300 are chartered.

The Swiss air cargo company’s fleet currently consists of four 777-200Fs with a payload capacity of up to 100 tonnes. Atlas Air, Inc., a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., a specialist air cargo company, operates them. The agreement between MSC and Atlas Air concerns a long-term contract (ACMI) with all additional services necessary to operate global routes.

An ACMI leasing is an agreement between two airlines, where the lessor agrees to provide an aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI) to the lessee in return for payment on the number of block hours operated.

A Boeing 777F on test flights before delivery.
(Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Jannie Davel, appointed in October 2022 as Senior Vice President of MSC Air Cargo, and former Managing Director Commercial of Delta Cargo, VP of Cargo Commerical Operations – Americas for Emirates Skycargo and SVP Airfreight Americas for DHL, commented very positively on the start of this new weekly connection for Italian cargo. MSC Air Cargo is just beginning its development, and MSC plans to invest significantly in this route.

MSC Air Cargo was created to consolidate its leading position in the cargo sector with other shipping companies, such as the French CMA CGM, the Danish Maersk, and the Taiwanese Evergreen, which have already launched their cargo airlines. These airlines were born to meet the growing demand for air freight shipping, mainly due to the boom in e-commerce, which requires freight shipments faster than sea freight.

In August of this year, the Swiss cargo company acquired a majority stake in the shares of AlisCargo Airlines, an Italian cargo airline. Not only that, but the Swiss company also acquired 100% of AlisCargo’s capital. AlisCargo Airlines, established just last year in 2021, had its AOC suspended at the end of 2022. However, the airline has since resumed its activities and is now operating on behalf of MSC Air Cargo. Despite the temporary setback with the AOC suspension, acquiring AlisCargo Airlines has proven to be a strategic and promising investment for MSC.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
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  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

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