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AfricaWest reorganizes fleet amid Cargoitalia collapse

By Hpanchal on January 30, 2012

AfricaWest Cargo has replaced its MD-11 aircraft, leased from the now-defunct Cargoitalia, with a Boeing 767F-300. The freighter is being deployed on the Togo-based carrier’s twice-weekly flights from Liege and Lome to Central and West Africa.

AfricaWest Director Yannick Erbs said Cargoitalia’s decision to ground its fleet on December 21 didn’t affect AfricaWest’s operations. “AfricaWest has been in the business long enough to have contingency plans in place in case a situation like that of Cargoitalia happens,” Erbs said in a statement. “We were able to provide a B747-200 as an interim aircraft to our customers immediately upon the ceasing of the MD-11s.”

What's more, Erbs maintained, the freighter could actually boost business. Touting it as a “better-performing aircraft,” he said the 767F-300 “has, among other things, temperature-controlled cargo interior, which is ideal for moving fresh food and perishables.”

“Indeed, its inclusion to our operations will provide greater opportunities to our partners, and allow better development and [us to] more efficiently meet the real challenges of bringing business into Africa,” Erbs added.

AfricaWest will also rely on this aircraft when it adds new routes to its flight schedule, Deputy Chairman Claude Sitterlin revealed. At AfricaWest’s recent board meeting, officials for the carrier announced plans to serve six new African destinations with twice-weekly freight service, Sitterlin explained. “In the coming months, we are looking at increasing these destinations to 10,” he said.

Cargoitalia, it seems, has taken a vastly different route. Shareholders of the Italian freight carrier placed Cargoitalia in voluntary liquidation, according to a note on the company’s website, and the carrier’s contract with its long-time press agency, Pilot Marketing, was terminated on December 23. “No further statement will be issued until a liquidator has been appointed and the finances of the company have been reviewed,” the note stated.

The all-cargo carrier counted three MD-11Fs among its fleet.

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