Start-up Italian freighter operator AlisCargo has told customers it will be back in the air soon.

At the of last year, the carrier had asked the Italian Civil Aviation Authority to suspend its operating licence – a bid to save costs, according to sources – as it awaited aircraft.

The carrier began operations in 2021 with two ‘preighter’ 777-200ER aircraft, offering ACMI and charter services. However, EASA ended an exemption which allowed airlines to put cargo in cabins last August, leaving AlisCargo only able to fly freight in the bellies of the 777s.

According to CH Aviation, one aircraft remained active, on an ACMI deal with ITA Airways, until 20 December, while the other has been in storage since October, when its deal with ITA ended.

The airline plans to relaunch “as soon as possible” with two 767 freighters, according to one source, but it is looking for finance to tide it over.

“Management has contacted the top clients saying everything is ok, it’s going as planned,” said one well-placed source.

“Alis asked for the suspension in order to keep costs as low as possible, while it waits for the arrival of new aircraft.”

The source added that the operational team, many of whom were at Italy’s old freighter airline, Cargoitalia, was confident that business would resume as soon as the first aircraft arrives in March or April.

However, the source added: “But it is hard to understand how the cash flow will continue without any activity; salaries are still due, and the organisation is rather big, of some 35 or 40 people. The carrier is talking to banks to find resources.”

Meanwhile, some AlisCargo pilots have decided to leave, rather than sit out the next couple of months, and have got jobs in the Middle East. They may return when the aircraft arrive, the second 767 being due in the summer, said the source.

The operational team, meanwhile have kept their positions, but are at home on reduced salary – which they can do under Italian law for up to nine months, explained the source.

AlisCargo did not respond to requests for comment.

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