Mistral Air to fly for Amazon?

A 737-400F will soon join Mistral Air’s 737-300QC (pictured). Photo: Laurent Errera, Wikimedia

Italy-based Mistral Air took delivery this week of a 737-400SF (28896, ex-Alaska) on lease from Automatic LLC, which local sources familiar with the airline suspect is linked to an alliance with Amazon forged earlier this year.

In June of this year, Poste Italiane and Amazon signed a three-year agreement to facilitate e-commerce deliveries and returns in a deal that was in line with the Post’s broader five-year, “Deliver 2022” strategy, which aims to boost parcel revenues by 70% to US$1.41 billion over the next five years. To achieve this objective, Poste Italiane will invest in resources and infrastructure that will enable it to better handle B2C parcel and e-commerce deliveries – a transition away from its previously mail-centric delivery model.

In 2017, the Post had a 30% market share for parcel deliveries in Italy, having delivered about 35 million parcels. By 2022, the Post hopes to boost its B2C market share to 40% and deliver some 100 million parcels. In February, Post Italiane took a few steps in the right direction when it initiated a new program to make it easier for delivery personnel to deliver parcels and mail from the same package cars. In parallel, the post also expanded its delivery model to include afternoon and weekend deliveries, with overlapping frequencies in high-density areas where e-commerce demand is high.

The Post’s deal with Amazon came shortly after Deliver 2022 was unveiled, and although details have been slim, many expect cooperation between the pair to extend beyond ground transportation. The Poste Italiane Group’s airline, Mistral Air, has been preparing accordingly. Earlier this year, Mistral Air scrapped its passenger operations to focus on cargo flights – the majority of which have historically operated in overnight service for the Post out of its Brescia hub (VBS).

Returning to Mistral’s latest aircraft, the 737-400SF arrives as Brescia Airport is making an attempt to resurrect cargo operations at the airport. The Italian North East Airport System, which manages VBS along with three other airports, recently did away with nighttime flight restrictions and appointed a cargo development manager. Even though Italian e-commerce likely doesn’t require a forty-unit 767F air network, this could be the start of something bigger.

Learn more about e-commerce and its impact on demand for freighter aircraft 10-12 October at  Cargo Facts Symposium, where a roundtable panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com.

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