AIR CARGO QUARTERLY - Italy’s Ocean Airlines to extend reach to Dulles

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Air Cargo News  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTOcean Airlines SPA, which operates and is headquartered at Italy’s Brescia Montichiari Gabriele D‚Annunzio Airport, is taking bets that Dulles International Airport (IAD) outside of Washington, DC will offer this two-year old air cargo carrier good business in and out of the United States. Subject to FAA approval, the carrier will be adding IAD as part of its expansion program in November. Two all-cargo scheduled services will be offered weekly.
In selecting IAD, Ocean Airlines executives carefully considered other US gateways that handle large quantities of freight and where international air carriers are flying.
“Most are going to New York’s JFK, which is very congested,” comments Linton Bell, Strategic Operations Director. “Chicago is also busy, and not where we really wanted to be. The same can be said for Atlanta.”
Washington Dulles is not a big hub for air cargo, although it is strategically important for the region. Being a government town filled with service industries, the Washington, DC area generates very little manufactured goods. With the exception of integrated carriers that service the airport, most freight is hauled in the belly holds of passenger aircraft. However, 46% of the US population is within a day’s drive of IAD. Airlines such as All Nippon Airways (ANA) have experienced great success with cargo through IAD by taking advantage of Washington, DC’s strategic US East Coast location and the developing cost effective road feeder program. This was an important point for Ocean Airlines executives.
Bell reveals that a top consideration for Ocean Air in selecting its first gateway entry into the United States was a market where the company could offer unique service.
“We want to be a big fish in a small pond,” Bell comments. He particularly praised the cooperation the company received from Richard Norris, head of Air Cargo Development for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, and other IAD officials during the selection process.
“This was very important,” he says. “We know cargo does not come from this area. It is consolidated. We will need to transport our shipments to other locations.”
As Bell points out, what is particularly attractive is the fact that Washington, DC has little congestion, and shipments can get on the roads much quicker. Washington Dulles has its own road access. The airport is also undergoing a huge expansion that includes additional runways and improvements to roadways and terminals.
“This is a market where we wish to attract customers far more interested in rushing shipments to onward destinations rather than delivering them to the local vicinity,” he says.
Furthermore, Bell finds business connections between Washington, DC and Italy to be unique. While Bell is reluctant to identify the source, he comments that a local producer in Italy has warehouse distribution space in Washington.
“It’s commodity is conducive to the Washington, DC area,” he says.
In addition, executives at Ocean Airlines see the Italian market as a major European cargo market in its own right. The carrier’s strategic hub in Brescia is in the heart of Italy’s industrial heartland. Seventy percent of Italy’s GDP is produced within a 300 kilometer radius of the Lombardy Region. For shipments going to Italy, Ocean Airlines offers its own trucking network to any point in Europe.
Links to Europe and beyondOne of the airline’s key strategies is to sell services beyond Europe.
“This is largely because we see Italy as a transshipment point,” Bell comments.
Consequently, the company is targeting cargo that is currently being transported by road to other European Union countries and cargo that is being transported from Italy. The company has ambitious plans. It intends to reach 15% of the current total $2 billion estimated annual Italian Air Cargo market.
The company also has developed service and connections with Central Asia and the Far East that includes relationships with local and global freigh

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American Journal of Transportation