The Boeing Company is supporting the expansion plans of Italian freight airline Cargoitalia S.p.A. by providing the carrier with its third MD-11 freighter under...

The Boeing Company is supporting the expansion plans of Italian freight airline Cargoitalia S.p.A. by providing the carrier with its third MD-11 freighter under a long-term lease.

Boeing Capital Corporation, Boeing’s aircraft financing arm, structured the deal for the newly completed MD-11 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF), with Boeing conducting the modification work at its subcontractor facility in Singapore. Following its acceptance by Cargoitalia, the aircraft flew directly to the operator’s main base at Milan Malpensa Airport, where it awaits entry into service.

The new MD-11BCF joins two other MD-11 freighters leased from other sources in the carrier’s scheduled- and charter-service operations from Italy to the Middle East, Asia and North America.

Cargoitalia expects to put the newly converted MD-11BCF into service on its emerging Milan-Shanghai route beginning in July.

“We are very pleased to add an aircraft with the increased quality and capability of the new MD-11BCF to our fleet. It will be a fundamental tool for developing our cargo network and putting our growth strategy into place,” says Giacomo Manzon, Cargoitalia’s managing director.

Milan Malpensa-based Cargoitalia has taken an MD-11 Boeing Converted Freighter on lease from Boeing Capital Corporation. The MD-11BCF is the third MD-11 freighter in the Italian all-cargo airline's fleet

Since ALIS Italian Airlines purchased the company in 2008, Cargoitalia has seen a complete turnaround of its operations including almost all of its management and a re-launching of its brand, according to Boeing.

“Our fleet plan has been a key factor in this, and we are very happy with the performance of the MD-11 freighter. We are considering further fleet development and continue to work on refining our plans and operations, based on one of the most modern freighter models available,” Manzon said.

Compared to earlier MD-11 freighters, the new MD-11BCF features an updated flight deck and cargo-handling system, better fuel efficiency and increased operating capabilities. It carries a 205,400lb (93.2 tonne) structural payload for a range of 3,486 nautical miles (6,456 kilometers) at a 630,500lb (286,000kg) maximum takeoff weight. The main and lower deck cargo compartments hold a total of 36 96in-by-125in pallets or containers.

According to Boeing, the MD-11 freighter is the leader in the 90-tonne freighter class, with some 175 aircraft in active service at well-known cargo operators and freight forwarders worldwide including FedEx, UPS and Lufthansa among others.

Boeing Capital has a number of newly converted Boeing freighters on lease to operators including recent customers Aeroflot and Ethiopian Airlines. A sister MD-11 now undergoing conversion will be available for placement later this year.

“From a financier’s perspective, investment in a MD-11 freighter conversion is a great move in terms of the aircraft’s residual value. It takes a strong aircraft asset beyond its role as a passenger carrier and extends it to a new cargo-focused life, maximizing its value in the process,” says John Kent, Boeing Capital’s senior director for Europe.

Overall, Boeing has converted more than 100 MD-11 passenger aircraft to freighters.