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Cargo traffic

The Milan airport system ranks 1st in Italy and 5th in Europe by freight traffic volumes. In 2017, cargo traffic managed at Malpensa and Milan Linate totaled 588,000 tons, increasing over 39,000 tons (7.1% at system level and 7.4% at Malpensa).

Ranking of the main European airports / airport systems by volumes of goods - 2017 (‘000 tons)


Goods in transit are not considered.
Source: SEA, ACI Europe

The positive trend has led to the achievement of a new historical record in terms of goods transported via Malpensa to the tune of nearly 577,000 tons. The consolidation of the capacity demand by freight forwarders led to an improvement in load factors and an increase in rates by the carriers, with a consequent positive impact on profitability. 

The all-cargo segment grew by 8.8% overall, with excellent performances recorded by the main all-cargo carriers of Malpensa: Cargolux (+12.6%), Qatar (+13.6%), Airbridge Cargo (+8.1%) and Nippon Cargo (+14.4%). The results of Turkish Airlines (+64.7%) and Saudi Arabian (+54.4%) were particularly positive in increasing the capacity offering.

Cargo traffic managed by the Milan airport system (000’s tons)


Source: SEA

The goods transported on passenger flights also grew (+3.8%), with the following carriers recording the highest growth in absolute terms: Qatar (+19.6%), American Airlines (+31.4%), Oman Air (+20.2%), Air India (+55.4%) and Air China (+11%). 

Malpensa – Arriving and departing cargo on all flights (cargo and passenger) (tons)

Arriving 155,687 141,199 74,834 69,685 230,521 210,884
Departing 265,441 245,994 80,576 79,984 346,017 325,978
Total cargo 421,128 387,193 155,410 149,669 576,538 536,862

Source: SEA

Three new carriers started operating from Malpensa: MNG Airlines, a Turkish carrier with two flights to Istanbul; Ethiopian Cargo, with a weekly flight to Addis Ababa, which represents the first direct connection to the African continent; and ASL France, which operates for Amazon with six weekly flights to East Midlands.

Linate – Arriving and departing cargo on all flights (cargo and passenger) (tons)

Arriving 4,642 4,817 815 943 5,457 5,761
Departing 5,108 5,324 1,372 1,468 6,480 6,792
Total cargo 9,750 10,142 2,187 2,411 11,937 12,553

Source: SEA

The cargo traffic served by the SEA managed airports reports a significant variance between final destination areas.

Malpensa - Distribution of cargo traffic by geographical area of destination (% of total goods volume)

Region 201720162015
Middle East 29.5 28.8 29.8
Far East 27.9 27.2 26.0
Europe 25.3 25.5 24.5
North America 14.4 15.1 15.8
Central and South America 1.6 2.5 2.9
Africa 1.3 0.9 1.0

Source: SEA

The operational complexity which defines the cargo activities at Malpensa (as is the case for the major European hubs), and the range of operators combining in an integrated manner, contributing to the end result expected of those delivering and receiving, has led SEA to draw up values and quality objectives for the principle parameters concerning the handling of cargo processes at the airports.

Therefore, Malpensa airport decided to adopt a Cargo Services Charter, in order to:

  • define performance and quality levels which satisfy the expectations of operators utilizing the cargo assistance services;
  • ensure SEA the availability of a regulation and control system for the cargo services provided at the airport, in order to guarantee the quality of the final result.